From Austin to Boston – part 2
On April 8th, I wrote a post about Castlen Kennedy’s trip from Austin to Boston in a Chevy Tahoe powered by natural gas.It was also published in the Austin Post. As I result of these publications, I’ve obtained some firsthand data that I can use to re-calculate the cost savings on fuel for Castlen’s trip.
If Castlen drove from Austin to Boston using a standard gasoline Tahoe, she would travel a distance of 1,998 miles at a cost of $2.65 per gallon (on average). Her Tahoe would get about 18 miles per gallon.
Cost per mile = ($2.65 per gallon)*(1/18 gallons per mile) ~ $0.15 per mile
Using these numbers, I can calculate the total fuel cost for her trip:
Fuel Cost for Entire Trip = $0.15 * 1,998 = $300
Natural Gas Tahoe – Castlen’s
Castlen’s natural gas Tahoe has 3 additional natural gas tanks, in addition to the 2 tanks that come with a standard conversion to natural gas. This will not impact the cost of driving this Tahoe, but it will more than double the driving range per fillup.
22.5 gge * 18 miles per gge = 405 miles range per fillup
I previously used a Texas benchmark for the cost of natural gas per gge. This time around, I’ll use a national average of $1.85 per gge.
Cost per mils = $1.85 per gge * (1/18) gge per mile ~ $0.10 per mile driven
Castlen will travel about 2,344 miles on her trip (an additional 346 miles because of limited access to natural gas filling stations). Using this to calculate the total cost of fuel for this drive, gives the following:
2,344 miles * $0.10 per mile = $234
This means that, even with the extra 346 miles that Castlen will have to drive due to availability of natural gas filling stations, she will still save about 20% on her fuel bill.
What does this mean?
These new data reinforce the previous finding that natural gas (at current prices) is a cheaper fuel to use in your car – not including the cost of converting the vehicle to natural gas, if you were unable to purchase one directly from the dealership. But, this calculation does not include:
- the benefit of driving this Tahoe on a domestic fuel resource
- environmental gains from driving a natural gas vehicle versus a gasoline one
- financial risk from driving on fuel that has historically been volatile in price – though perhaps no more than gasoline