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How to Calculate Moving Truck Gas Cost

When adding up moving expenses, remember to leave room for hidden costs. An often overlooked one is the cost of gasoline. Filling up the tank of a commercial truck isn’t the same as pumping a few gallons into the high-MPG little number you drive to work. Use a gas calculator, which factors amounts of gas for both vehicles plus the distance of your move.

Fill it Up

You’ll need to know gas prices before calculating mileage for your move. Truck rentals come in different sizes, from a 10-foot cargo van to a 24-foot truck. You can find specific information on different sizes and fuel types on your truck rental company’s website. Typically, the 10-foot van and 16-foot truck use regular gas and the larger trucks, like the 24-footer, use diesel fuel. Diesel is more expensive than regular; at the time of publishing, the national average price for regular was $3.09/gal. while diesel’s was $3.35/gal.

MPG and Distance

Next you’ll need to determine what size truck you’ll be renting.Moving truck rentalsaren’t the most fuel-efficient beasts on the road. Here’s a guideline:

  • Smaller trucks (10 through 14 feet) usually average 8 to 10 miles per gallon.
  • Medium trucks (15 through 19 feet) average about 6 to 8 miles per gallon.
  • Larger trucks (over 20 feet) will get about 4 to 6 miles per gallon.

How many miles will you be going on your move? The best you can do here is a good estimate. The weight of your load, number of times you make stops or having to take a detour will all vary your mileage. Add at least 50 miles to your estimate.

Higher Math

When you have all your numbers ready, divide the number of miles you’ll be going by the lowest MPG for your size truck. So, if you are traveling 600 miles in a large truck, you would divide 600 by 4 to get 150. That’s the number of gallons of gas you’ll need to get there.

Multiply the number of gallons you need by the average gas price. If you need 150 gallons of gas and the average fuel cost is $3/gallon, you’ll be spending $450 to travel 600 miles.

Remember: You’ll need to return that truck with a full tank. So how much will this cost you? Small to medium moving trucks have a 30 to 40 gallon tank, larger trucks, between 50 and 60 gallon tank. If you have a truck with a 50-gallon gas tank and gas is averaging $3 a gallon, it will cost you $150 to fill the tank.

Next add the amount to fill your tank to the cost of the trip to get your final total. Adding $450 to $150, it will cost you about $600 total.

Or Do It the Easy Way

If thinking about all that math makes your head hurt, use the fuel cost calculator from AAA.


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