Tag Archives: fuel cost calculator

Dodge Caravan Is King of the Magic Kingdom

The Top Vehicle for Vacationers Driving to Disney Parks in 2011

As millions of people across the US and Canada begin planning their annual trek south for the winter many will have a Disney theme park as their final destination.  You can literally draw a line down the middle of North America to predict which parks these travelers will visit with the western half visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in southern California and the eastern half visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

North America divided by two realms of Disney

What’s harder to predict are the types of vehicles these travelers will be driving on their epic road trips to Disney, and so we thought this would be an interesting study to undertake given that Disney World is the most popular attraction entered on our flagship Website Cost2Drive.com, a site used by over 300,000 people in 2011 to help plan car trips.  Nearly 10,000 of these road trippers entered a Disney theme park as their destination providing us with an ample supply of routes from which to analyze.  Below are our findings.

The Top 10 Vehicles Driven to Disney Parks

We don’t know if anyone has ever conducted a study like this, but since users of Cost2Drive enter their vehicle information on the site we’re able to identify the most popular cars that people are driving to Disney World and Disneyland.   Not surprisingly, the top four vehicles are minivans which are ideally suited for the traveling family.

Based on 10,000 routes to Disney parks entered on Cost2Drive.com

What is surprising, however, is how different this list is from the top vehicles entered on Cost2Drive overall in 2011.  Well be sharing that list in a future post, but don’t expect minivans to populate the top positions.  It is interesting to note that SUV’s didn’t crack the top five, though a number did make it into the top 20 rankings.  The Dodge Caravan took the top slot, capturing 10.5% of all the trips to Disney World and Disneyland on Cost2Drive, followed closely by the Honda Odyssey.  Rankings of the all of the top 10 are as follows:

  1. Dodge Caravan (10.5%)
  2. Honda Odyssey  (9.6%)
  3. Chrysler Town & Country (6.3%)
  4. Toyota Sienna (6.0%)
  5. Toyota Camry (5.1%)
  6. Ford Explorer (5.0%)
  7. Honda Civic (4.9%)
  8. Honda Pilot (4.3%)
  9. Honda Accord (4.2%)
  10. Ford Expedition (4.2%)

Average Trip Distance by Vehicle

People are always amazed when we tell them that average distance of routes entered on Cost2Drive is over 800 miles each way, and that expands further for trips to the Disney theme parks where the average trip distance is over 1,000 miles.  The average trip length varies significantly by vehicle type with minivans and SUVs outpacing sedans in terms of trip length.

Average distance driven to Disney theme parks (one-way)

In this case its the Chrysler Town & Country that takes the crown with an average trip length of 1165 miles each way.  The overall average trip length was 1,065 miles with the top 10 rankings as follows:

  1. Chrysler Town & Country – 1,165 miles
  2. Dodge Caravan – 1,149 miles
  3. Toyota Sienna – 1,118 miles
  4. Honda Odyssey – 1,104 miles
  5. Ford Expedition – 1,027 miles
  6. Honda Civic – 1,008 miles
  7. Honda Pilot – 985 miles
  8. Ford Explorer – 969 miles
  9. Toyota Camry – 964 miles
  10. Honda Accord – 841 miles

Cost of Driving

Because gas prices are at record highs for this time of year one of the most important considerations for consumers is how much they will need to budget for gas to get to the Disney parks.   We entered a typical trip from Chicago to Disney World  into our trip cost calculator on Cost2Drive.com to compare the cost of driving the 2011 models of the four leading minivans (note that the Dodge Caravan is now the Grand Caravan):

Driving costs based on 2011 model year vehicles using EPA MPG estimates

In this scenario its the 2011 Honda Odyssey that ends up with the crown being the most fuel efficient of the four minivans, costing only $144 each way to drive from Chicago to Orlando.

If you’re planning a winter road trip check out the Cost2Drive trip calculator to help you plan the trip.  It will quickly calculate fuel costs based on real time gas prices along your route and help you save money by locating the cheapest gas at refueling points along the way.  It also displays the cheapest airfare so you can see if its cheaper to fly or drive to your destination.

If you have an iPhone you can download our new Cost2Drive iPhone app that gives you all the great features of the Website plus it lets you save and compare up to five vehicles in the app.  Download it today and never again wonder what it will cost to drive places.

Happy New Year and Happy & Safe Driving in 2012!

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Exciting Week for Cost2Drive iPhone App!

CBS12 West Palm Beach, FL coverage of Cost2Drive

Fly or Drive? An Easy Way to Compare Costs as reported by Herb Tabin of CBS 12.

Reviews, Press Mentions Catapults App into Top 10 Ranking

It’s been an exciting week since we launched our latest update to the new Cost2Drive iPhone app, version 1.0.1  with Kayak flight integration, and the reviews have been coming in fast and favorably.  Right on the heels of last week’s great coverage by Sebastian Blanco at Autoblog and Craig Agranoff from CBS Radio Buzz 103, this week followed up with a bang with reviews from CNET, AutoGuide and CBS 12 TV.

On Tuesday Antuan Goodwin of CNET gave this great review of the Cost2Drive iPhone app followed by this TV segment from Herb Tabin of CBS 12, West Palm Beach, FL.  The week culminated with another strong review by Amy Tokic at AutoGuide.

We were thrilled to see that the great reviews and media attention helped catapult the Cost2Drive iPhone app into a Top 10 ranking in iTunes, and are committed to constantly improving the app based on user feedback so look for more exciting upgrades in the very near future.

Thanks everyone that has purchased the app and please don’t hesitate to share your feedback by submitting reviews in iTunes or directly to us via the app.

If you haven’t downloaded the app you can get it here or by going to iTunes and searching on Cost2Drive.

Happy Driving!

Apple iTunes App Store

Google Adds Fuel Cost Calculator to Maps in Europe

Journey Planner

Google Maps Fuel Cost Calculator

While browsing the Internet this weekend I came across this rather startling post from fleet management company FieldLogix about a new feature in Google Maps in Europe that estimates fuel costs for a trip.  What’s startling about this is not the feature itself but the fact that its largely been overlooked despite the potential for broad implications across several industries.

I’ll cover more on this (and why we’re so excited by this new development) in a later post, but for now lets just focus on the details of this new feature. It appears that cost estimates are now part of all the European Google Maps sites and can be found at the bottom of the driving directions along with a link to modify car type as well as fuel grade and price.  If you modify these options Google will save those changes for future routes.

The currency is localized to the country of origin and remains constant regardless of the number of countries traversed in your route.  To illustrate I’ve entered a route from London to Rome in Google Maps UK (see below).

Google Maps cost calculator

You’ll note that the fuel cost for this trip is estimated in UK currency even though the trip crosses multiple countries.  It’s not clear how the average fuel price of 1.26 British Pounds Sterling per litre  is determined but in testing several routes within the UK the same price is applied so I am assuming this is based on a country average.

For comparison purposes, Cost2Drive locates the nearest gas price at the origin of the route and then calculates the cost based on real time gas prices along the route to account for regional variations.  For example a route from Chicago to New York has an average gas price of $3.12 vs $3.17 for a route from Chicago to Nashville.

Cost2Drive calculates cost based on real time gas prices along the route

Additionally, whereas Google’s tool allows for 3 vehicle types Cost2Drive allows you to select the exact vehicle you are driving from a database of over 20,000 cars and trucks so you’ll get far more accurate cost estimates.  Cost2Drive also locates the cheapest gas at refueling points along your route, and for routes over 200 miles displays the cheapest airfare found on Kayak.com.

Toll costs are not included in the calculation even though they can be substantial in Europe, especially if your route includes a Channel crossing which is around 42 pounds ($68) each way if you opt to take the Chunnel.  As an aside, toll cost information is the most requested feature on Cost2Drive and so we’re actively looking at ways to include this information.

Note that Michelin’s mapping product does include toll cost information for routes in Europe.  In fact Michelin deserves a great deal of credit for being a leader in this space however they are severely hampered by an overly cluttered user interface which has been the downfall of many trip planning applications.

It will be very interesting to see where Google takes this feature.  Will it soon appear in US maps? Will their driving directions evolve into more of a trip planning product? As I mentioned I’ll share more of my thoughts on this in a later post, but please feel free to share your own thoughts below.

Happy Driving!

jim@costtogo.com

Traffic to Cost2Drive Surpasses AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator!

Cost2Drive December 2010 TrafficWhen you envision a product you often have an existing product in mind where you see opportunity to improve or enhance it in a way that will better serve the marketplace.  Validation can come in many forms, such as user feedback, press attention or, if your product is a Website, traffic.  When we first launched Cost2Drive.com back on October, 2008 AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator was the product we had our sights on.  So far we’ve received a great deal of validation from our users and the press that we built a superior product.

Today  we’re very excited to report that we’ve achieved our third point of validation as for the first time since launching Cost2Drive traffic to the site has surpassed AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator.  As gas prices have soared in the past few months Cost2Drive is taking a disproportionate share of the market with Unique Visitors up 184% in December over November and up a stunning 271% from December 2009!  Meanwhile according to Compete.com, a site that reports Website visitation numbers,  traffic to AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator plummeted as Unique Visitors were down 58% compared to November and down 55% from the prior year.

Based on internal traffic data it appears this trend is continuing in January as recession-battered consumers try to better plan and budget for rising gas prices, and according to a recent US Energy Information Administration report there doesn’t appear to be much relief in sight as gas prices could surpass $4 by this summer.    That’s why we continue to innovate by providing new tools like the Facebook application we launched last month that calculates how much money you’d save driving an electric car to work.

We still believe there is tremendous opportunity for further innovation in this space so look for more exciting news from us in coming months!

Gas Prices Hit 2-Year High, Panic Ensues..

It’s like that horror movie we’ve all seen, where we’re certain that the monster has been slayed, but just when we think its safe to go back in the water again….

Over the Christmas holiday you may have noticed the signs. No, not the tell-tale signs, the actual retail signs at the service station heralding a new era of gas prices above $3, and if you’ve been reading the press lately the predictions are that its going to get worse, possibly much worse.

Around Thanksgiving AAA set things in motion by predicting gas prices of $3.50 by this spring.  This was enough to get the journalist circling as they could smell blood in the water.   Soon after Thanksgiving analysts further baited them with predictions even higher, up to $4 a gallon.  Without skipping a beat, many of them bit.

And then, right on the heels of Christmas, the ultimate chum was thrown in the water, $5 gallon by 2012!  Let the feeding frenzy begin!  There’s no telling where the actual price will end up, but one things for sure…we’re gonna need a bigger boat (or at least a more fuel-efficient one).

What do you think of these rising gas prices? Share your comments below.

What does it cost to drive a Chevy Volt?

Chevrolet Volt

For our inaugural post on the Cost2Go blog I thought it might be fun to look into the future by adding the Chevrolet Volt into our Galculator (fuel cost calculator) on Cost2Drive.  The timing of this coincides with two conferences in Texas this week; TravelCom 2010 in Dallas and the SXSW music/film/technology conference in Austin where Chevrolet is a sponsor, and will be hosting a Chevy Volt Recharge lounge at the event.

So what would it cost to drive a Chevy Volt if we had one in our hands today?  Well, first we need to understand the fuel economy of the vehicle.  We looked to a CNN/Money article from last summer to learn that the Volt is expected to get 230 mpg for commuting-type driving and 62.5 mpg for longer distance highway driving where the route extends the 300 mile range of the vehicle (based on a 6 gallon fuel tank).

We’ve plugged this information into our Galculator on Cost2Drive so you can now select the 2011 Chevrolet Volt as your vehicle and find the cost of driving any route in the US.  Our Galculator also calculates the cost of flying for trips over 200 miles so you can see if its cheaper to drive a Chevy Volt or cheaper to fly.  You can also use it to compare the cost of driving your own car versus the Chevy Volt.

Just for kicks we entered the route from Lansing, MI to Austin, TX (location of the SXSW conference) driving a Chevrolet Volt and the  cost is $59 each way based on current fuel prices along the route.  The cheapest airfare for that route is $277 (roundtrip on Delta) so in this case its definitely cheaper to drive…if you don’t mind spending 2 days on the road.

Check it out here and select the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and let us know what you think!

Happy Driving!

Jim

(Note that our Galculator does not yet include the cost of electricity so that cost, though likely nominal, is not factored into the cost calculations)