My school is really good about letting me go to technology conferences (as long as it doesn’t cost any money). Last week I went to the Nebraska Technology Coordinators Fall Meeting and yesterday I went to the Nebraska 1:1 meeting.

They were both in Kearney, which is about 120 miles away. Last week I went in a van full of other technology coordinator type people, but yesterday I was traveling alone, so I did a little experiment. On the way out to Kearney, I took the interstate and on the way back I took highway. Here’s the data:

Start Time | End Time | Total Time | Distance | Avg. Speed | Gas | MPG | Total Cost | |

Interstate | 7:05am | 8:45am | 1:40 | 120 miles | 72 mph | 3.86 gal. | 31 mpg | $13.86 |

Highway | 3:15pm | 5:25pm | 2:10 | 113 miles | 52 mph | 2.55 gal. | 44 mpg | $9.15 |

If those speeds seem low to you, it’s because it takes me a while to get up to speed. On the Interstate I was cruising along at about 80 mph, but the trip out has about 10 miles where the speed limit is between 35 and 60 mph. On the Highway, I was traveling at 62 mph, but the trip back has about 5 small towns where the speed limit dips down to 35-45 mph. There was also a little construction on the way back and I was just waiting around for a few minutes. I turned the car off.

So? Is it worth taking 30 minutes longer to save $4.71? That’s $9.42 per hour or $18,840 per year (which qualifies for food stamps for a family of 2 –they don’t count cats).

Lauren says

Hmmm…. looking at those figures makes me question your math: Why did you have to use math?

Peggy says

Dang. Now my brain is all twisted in a knot & it’s only 9:00am.

Brad says

In the money calculations of your last paragraph, you didn’t take into account the time you spent. If we assume you at least make minimum wage, which is $7.25 in Nebraska, now you’re only saving $2.17 per hour, or $4,340. That’s not enough even for a food stamp family to live on.

I will suppose you make more than minimum wage though, so it might be cheaper to take the interstate.

Lauren says

Ow. Math.

Lloyd says

I was basing the amount of money that my time is worth using the number that Lauren uses.

Brad says

Hahaha! Excellent.

RON ROYUK says

Wha-a-a-a-a, Peggy? Don’t you like grammar blogs??

Lloyd says

Here’s some bonus math… Can I use this information to calculate my city mpg? I normally get 38ish MPG on a full tank of gas, and my normal commute is 20 highway miles and 10 city miles. So I should be able to get my city MPG with:

(44 MPG * 20 Miles) + (x MPG * 10 Miles) = 38 MPG * 30 Miles

I think.

Lauren says

*thunk*

(head hits counter)