This past weekend not only marked our country’s 238th birthday but was also one of the biggest Independence Day travel weekends in history. AAA Travel Forecast estimated that over 41 million Americans traveled to celebrate the 4th. Of these weekenders, more than 8 in 10 (around 34.8 million) piled into an automobile. With high gas prices that aren’t expected to dip anytime soon, this left us wondering what kind of money Americans are spending on gasoline during the summer months.
Average Summer Getaway
- During the 16-week period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, upwards of 657 million long distance summer trips are made
- A “long distance,” trip is defined as any trip more than 50 miles from home, that does not include business or commuting
- The average summer long distance trip is 284 miles one-way and 91 percent of them are done in a personally owned vehicle
This summer marked record setting July 4th gas prices the national average for last weekend was $3.67 per gallon, the highest since 2008.
To put this into perspective, the average gas mileage for U.S. vehicles is 23.6 miles per gallon which means that the average car driving the average summer trip length one-way (284 miles) will cost that driver around $44.16 in gasoline.
Take that gasoline price and compare it to the domestic, clean burning and cheaper alternative of compressed natural gas. The current price of CNG is somewhere around $2.10 per gallon averaging a $1.50 savings per gallon. So to travel 284 miles you need 12 gallons of gas. Compared to the $44.16 for 12 gallons of regular gasoline, 12 gallons of CNG would cost around $25.27.
This animation shows you how far you can get with $40 worth of gasoline and $40 of CNG.
To take this a step further we decided to take the averages used for the calculations and apply them to some real life examples.
Scranton, PA to Ocean City, MD: 261 miles
Pittsburgh, PA to Nags Head, NC: 525 miles
Philadelphia, PA to Hilton Head, SC: 716 miles