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How to Calculate Moving Truck Gas Cost

A driver fills up his moving truck with gas.
Alexandru Nika / Getty Images

When adding up moving expenses, remember to leave room for hidden costs. An often overlooked one is the cost of gas. Filling up the tank of a commercial truck isn’t the same as pumping a few gallons into your car. So to be prepared, use a gas calculator that factors amounts of gas for both vehicles plus the distance of your move.

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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. Remember that diesel costs more than regular gas, so check the current national gas price average and the cost of gas in the states you’ll drive through along the way.

Trying to determine what size truck you’ll need? Figure it out with MYMOVE’s guide.

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MPG and Distance

Next you’ll need to determine what size truck you’ll be renting. Moving truck rentals aren’t the most fuel-efficient beasts on the road. Here’s a basic 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, the 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.

Do the 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 have a tank that’s between 50 and 60 gallons. 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 before you turn in those keys.

Add the cost of filling up your tank post-move 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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