How much does it cost to drive across country?

by Bob Sullivan on July 22, 2014

Gas costsCrossCountryGasCostsHow much does it cost to drive across country? I have the answer!  Today, I’ll be talking about gas prices only. There’s lodging costs, too. They will vary based on your appetite for Motel 6 mattresses and the goodwill you have built up with friends’ couches. Gas is a sort of fixed cost, depending on gas mileage. I was driving a Toyota RAV4 which pretty consistently gets 27-28 mpg, mountains or not, AC or not.  It has a small gas tank, however, and a range of just over 300 miles, so there’s a lot of fill-ups here (13!).

There was one exception to my mpg and range: Eastern Washington, where I ran into a headwind like I’ve never experienced.  For the first 250 miles of Washington State, I got under 20 mpg, and I almost ran out of gas, as my range was cut by nearly 100 miles, and I didn’t notice until I was in a relatively desolate place. Thank goodness Moses Lake is where Moses Lake is.  So, off to the left, you’ll see my spreadsheet.  Have you made the trip? What did it cost you in gas?

I know $492 sounds like a lot. But for fun, I just peeked at airline prices for non-stop round-trip tickets from Newark to Seattle, leaving tomorrow. The cheapest ticket is $1,091. So $492 one-way doesn’t sound that bad.    On the other hand, one medium-sized bag of Beneful was all Rusty needed for fuel on the trip.  So that does make it sound pretty pricey.  It’s all relative.

See the rest of my road trip stories.

Sign up for Bob Sullivan’s free email newsletter.

Previous post:

Next post: