$100 Doesn’t Drive As Far As It Used To
Jul 19, 2023
Road trips

$100 Doesn’t Drive As Far As It Used To

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Quite literally, $100 doesn’t go as far as it used to. Especially when it comes to how far you can go in your car.

Imagine yourself back in 1995. You have $100 in your wallet. You fill up your Ford Escort in New York City, heading west as far as your trusty ride will take you. “Only Want To Be With You” by Hootie and the Blowfish blasts repeatedly on your speakers as you zip across the United States. In almost no time, your car comes to rest in Las Vegas. Your $100 has been spent, and your tank is empty. You just drove 2,500 miles from New York to Vegas for $100.

Fifteen years later, that same $100 would only get you from The Big Apple to St. Louis, about 1,000 miles.

Why is it that in 1995 you could almost get across the entire United States for $100, but in 2010 you can’t even get half way? There are two major contributors, and no, Hootie is not to blame.

  1. The Cost of Gas has more than doubled.

In 1995 the average cost of gas nationwide was $1.10 per gallon. In 2010 the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded was $2.74, which looks like a bargain compared to 2008, when the price was $3.21 per gallon. 2. Gas Mileage Standards did not increase from 1990 to 2010.

For 20 years, CAFE Standards have been set at 27.5 MPG. That means that the average fuel economy of all of the cars produced between 1990 and 2010 only had to be 27.5 MPG or better. In 2011 the standards were finally raised, but only to a modest 30.2 MPG. That would get you an extra 100 miles at 2010 gas prices.