How much did your Starbucks really cost you? Gas mileage and the cost of driving

Starbucks Nap Run is a SuccessMany times over the years I have looked at driving to different locations as a pennies on the dollar type of situation. However, recently my wife and I made a special errand and somehow started talking about the cost of driving places. This might be because we own an SUV that weighs as much as the Titanic and our wallet certainly has paid a similar fate as the Titanic due to craptastic gas mileage our vehicle gets (and yes, it’s our own fault!). My wife and I are both avid coffee drinkers and although we don’t consider Starbucks the best coffee out there by any means we do consider it a consistent alternative since we cannot make the trip to Crema or Happy coffee in Denver very often. This past year we moved out to what most city folks would consider to be the middle of nowhere. The closest shopping center is five miles from our house but once you are there you have access to pretty much anything you would want. It was decided the other day that we would take a quick Starbucks run for my wife’s birthday. So we mounted up and headed to the closest drive through Starbucks. There is actually a walk-in Starbucks at the five mile mark but we were interested in getting a little bit of a drive in as well as try and get our two and half year old son to take a nap. The car is apparently a magical place for him.

As we pulled up to the window at Starbucks to pay for our snooty caramel macchiato’s we wondered, how much did these coffees cost us with travel and all? Well you are about to find out and to be honest, it is crazy!

So here is the math for you. Starbucks is 8.2 miles from our house (shame on us for requiring a drive through. First world problem and snobbery anf coffee snobbery at it’s best).

I did some quick calculations and figured out that it basically cost us a whopping $0.28 cents a mile to drive our beast around town. We average about 14mpg. That is terrible, but dang this thing is sweet in the snow!

So at 8.2 miles that puts us at a 16.4 mile round trip and therefore put the cost of just driving to Starbucks $4.59 plus the cost of our coffees. That my friends is pure insanity. We have sense been having conversations about how we can drive less. Use the other car more and maybe even get a different car with better mileage. The next time you are standing at the store wondering if you should drive to the next place and you think, it may cost me more to drive there than if I bought it here, that statement could be entirely true. Especially if you drive a tank.

I did the math on a few other cars to see how much is would cost to drive them to Starbucks. Here are the results…

Saab 2004 9-3 Linear – $2.46 ($0.15 per mile – This is our other car and probably a better choice for those one off quick trips)
Toyota Prius – $1.47 ($0.09 per mile to drive)
Ford Fusion Hybrid – $1.31 ($0.08 per mile to drive)

So why don’t we get another car you ask? As mentioned we have thought about this and it is still on the table although we have other ideas as well. One of the reasons we bought this particular vehicle was third row seats for that day when Emily finds out she is pregnant and we need that extra room. Also as discussed that thing is a tank and I feel pretty bad for anything that hits us or we hit. The safety of it both on an average day and in the snow is something that at least helps me justify the cost. Maybe not the best excuse but certainly a factor. If you are wondering how you can determine the cost of driving per mile just follow this simple formula…

Cost of a tank of gas รท Total miles per tank = Cost per mile

Now pick a place or three that you drive to on a regular basis and get ready to be depressed. Have a great day!

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