Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cost of gasoline per mile around town

One of you loyal readers had a great comment the other day that I thought was worth addressing in a post of it's own. Erin said,

"I would much rather spend that 7.20 on gas (We have a gas guzzler!) and get it all done and all the deals in one shot. I'm all about saving money but time is something I'm in desperate need of these days and not willing to give up...I don't think ever!"

Erin is my smart, savvy, and super cute sister-in-law. She is the mother of 3 year old twins, a 1 year old baby and is expecting #4 within the month, all girls. She shops at only two stores and drives a great distance to do so because there, in Federal Way, they are right next to each other.

When I lived in Fresno, CA I did the same thing. I drove 15 minutes down the freeway to a strip of stores in Clovis, CA where there was a Food4Less, Winco, Target, Hostess Outlet and Costco all within a mile of each other. For me, at the time, that was the best, most efficient use of my time and resources. (It was also on my way to and from the kid's school--yes, we used to be district skippers too.)

Her comment made me start wondering, if I started driving all over town to get all these deals at all these different stores, would I still be getting a great deal when I factored in the gas I used against the grocery store savings?

Now, you know I don't drive all over town. I look at all the ads, figure out the best deals at each store then I choose one store with the best deals and go there. Perhaps I am occasionally enticed into another store but I only go if it is on my way to something else, like if I'm going to University Place to visit my mom and go to violin lessons, I may stop at Freddy's if the deals are good enough. And yes, thank you for the reminder, a few weeks ago I did visit several stores in one week but I'm gonna say it was for research for a blog post--I was doing it for you!

Anyways, back on track here, Erin's comment . . . her comment inspired me to do a little math and make a little spreadsheet on gas consumption and price per gallon. I wanted to know how much I was spending per mile driven at each price point. This way I could figure out how much I was spending on gas to get me over to Freddy's and was it worth it for the savings.

Of course, I can also use this for other things too. Like when the kids miss the bus and want me to drive them to school I can say "Well, you know that it is only 1 mile to school and it takes you 15 minutes to walk. If you start walking now you'll get to school with plenty of time to spare."

Kids will look at me longingly with puppy dog eyes and say, "I don't want to walk I'm still tired and I wanted to play on the jungle gym before school with my friends. If I walk I won't have enough time."

To which I will quickly respond, "If you want me to drive you I have to drive to school and back which is 2 miles. It costs me (I will point at the spreadsheet posted in my kitchen) 18 cents per mile I drive for gas. It will cost me 36 cents to drive you to school. Do you want to pay me 36 cents to drive you to school?"

To which they may just as quickly respond in one of two ways:
  1. "No, I'd rather walk and save my money."
  2. "Yes, I've got 36 cents."
If they answer "Yes" well then I have another math defense, I'll goad them on with this, "Well, in addition to the 36 cents it will take me 7 minutes to drive to the school, drop you off and drive back. I charge my sewing customers $30 an hour and so that 7 minutes is worth $3.50 to me. Are you willing to pay $3.86 for a ride to school?"

I can hear it now, "Aww, mom. I don't have the money! Can I do some extra chores?".
I win!
Ok, maybe only in my dreams--but I am going to try it!

ok, back on track here. So you see this spreadsheet may be useful for you to figure out how much you're spending to drive to your stores in an effort to save money, how much your spending to run errands, drive somewhere you could walk, or here's another great conversation I may only ever have in my dreams:

Dave calls from the swimming pool obviously rushed for time and desperate for help, "Honey, will you run over to the swim shop and pick up the new team suits, I need them for today's meet at 3."

To which I will kindly and lovingly respond, "It's 10 miles there and back and it costs me (I will glance at the spreadsheet posted in my kitchen) 18 cents per mile for gas. Do you want to pay me $1.80 for my gas?"

To which he will respond, obviously annoyed, in one way:
  1. "Of course, or I wouldn't have called you--I pay for all the gas anyways--remember?!"
After which I will boldly say "Well, in addition to the $1.80 it will take me 40 minutes to drive there, pick up the suits and drive back. I charge my sewing customers $30 an hour and so that 40 minutes is worth $20 to me. Are you willing to pay $21.80 for your suits?"

He'll likely hang up on me.

Back on track again-----If you want to save time, and gas money here's the spreadsheet
Cost of Gasoline per mile around town

Are you interested in some of my other spreadsheets?
Grocery List Calculator
Grocery Price Index
How Many/How Much


  1. Dani, I love the conversations you have in your head. I admit that sometimes I have conversations too. They usually end the same way yours does. In my mind, they usually go something like this: "Gee honey, you look tired after taking care of 9 children for the last 12 hours. I can see that dinner is ready to start. Why don't I finish dinner while you take a hot relaxing bath. Don't forget the candles and I borrowed some of your favorite magazines from the library for your viewing pleasure. The kids and I will do all of the evening chores so that you can get the rest that you so deservedly need. We will come to you when it is time for scriptures and prayers. My children will also respond "Oh Mother, we love you so. We are grateful for all that you do for us so that we can have our enjoyable lives"...blah blah blah. Of course real life isn't like that. There is scouts, church meetings, church assignments, and housework, paying bills, going to the Temple etc etc etc. Have a great day and enjoy the journey !

  2. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Your hilarious Dani! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks things through like that. We need to get together and trade spreadsheets.

  3. I'd like to know if the imaginary conversation with Dave ever comes to pass and if its actually any better... Way to go math genius.


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