With crude oil prices always fluctuating and usually upwards, the price of gasoline is always on your mind. Not too many folks drive by their local gas stations without taking notice of the gas prices on the billboard signs.
Cottagers and weekend campers take notice of these prices regularly, because most weekends they are on their way to their cottage or campground, usually with a load of something in their vehicle or towing a travel trailer or boat.
That’s not to mention that cottagers are often stopping along the way to fill up cans of gas to run their boats all weekend. Fuel consumption is often on our minds.
Cottagers Take Notice
So when the price of gasoline jumps up, cottagers, campers and boaters usually take notice. It makes you think twice when a trip to the cottage for the weekend appears to cost a wallet full of money.
But is it really costing a lot of money to go to the camp during the summer? How much is it costing to drive there each weekend?
As anyone who drives and buys gas knows by now, fuel costs depend on a lot of factors. The cost of fuel per litre in Canada, or by the gallon in the United States, along with the fuel economy (or lack of it) of your particular vehicle.
So with that in mind I sat down tonight and did a little figuring and “cyphering” to get an idea of what it does cost to drive to the camp on the weekends. I call this my Fuel Consumption Guide For Cottagers.
Criteria and Assumptions
To keep things scientific and as fair as possible, I developed a little criteria based on the following.
1) Assume each trip to the cottage is 100 kilometers/60 miles one way.
2) Assume cottagers and campers go to the camp on average 20 weekends per year from the first of May to the end of September.
3) Most trips to the camp are highway drives, so I used the highway driving fuel economy figures from the 2011 Fuel Consumption Guide from Natural Resources Canada.
4) At the time of my calculations, the current national average gas price is $1.24672 per litre. That is an average, and during summer, peak driving time, the cost usually goes much higher. Even as of this writing, the current Nova Scotia average gas price $1.35792 per litre, considerably more than I used for this post.
5) Because I was not concerned with finding the most economical or most expensive vehicle, I did not pay particular attention to engine size or transmission, although as much as possible I chose 6 cylinder manual transmission vehicles.
6) The following considers the fuel consumption costs of driving to and from the cottage a 200 kilometer round trip, and does not include any extra driving. For a good idea of costs, consider the amount (the smaller $ amount shown) I have shown for a round trip for one weekend, this is indicative of how much it will cost you for each trip to and from the cottage.
So with the above as my metrics, here are a sampling of 2011 vehicles and what they cost you for a trip to and from the camp and for 20 trips per cottage season. Keep in mind this does not take into account driving style, trailer towing, vehicle load and any number of variables that can affect miles per gallon.
I have listed these in order of dollar amount for one cottage season, 20 trips to the cottage and back at an average of 100 kilometers each way. The last figure is the cost for the season.
Vehicle Make Model/ Cylinders/ Engine/ Weekend Cost/ Season Cost
Lincoln Navigator 4X4/ 8/ 5.4/ $56.10/wknd………$1122.00
Chevrolet Sierra 4WD/ 8/ 4.8/ $38.14/wknd………$762.80
Ford F150 FFV 4WD/ 8/ 5.0/ $35.15/wknd………$703.00
Toyota Tundra 4X4/ 8/ 5.7/ $30.17/wknd………$603.40
Suzuki Equator 4WD/ 6/ 4./ $29.42/wknd………$588.40
Chev Silverado 4WD/ 6/ 4.3/ $28.17/wknd………$563.40
Nissan XTerra 4X4/ 6/ 4.0/ $26.18/wknd………$523.68
Dodge Ram 1500 4WD/ 8/ 5.7/ $26.92/wknd………$538.40
Ford Ranger 4WD/ 6/ 4.0/ $26.43/wknd………$528.60
Kia Sorento 4WD/ 6/ 3.5/ $25.68/wknd………$513.67
Toyota FJCruiser 4X4/ 6/ 4.0/ $25.43/wknd………$508.60
$400.00 – $500.00
Ford F150 FFV 4WD/ 6/ 3.7/ $24.43/wknd…..$488.60
Jeep Compass 4WD/ 4/ 2.4/ $22.93/wknd…..$458.79
Honda Pilot AWD/ 6/ 3.5/ $22.69/wknd…..$453.80
Volvo XC90 AWD/ 6/ 3.2/ $22.69/wknd…..$453.80
Volkswagon Tourag/ 6/ 3.6/ $21.94/wknd…..$438.80
Suzuki Grand Vitara/ 4/ 2.4/ $21.44/wknd…..$428.80
Dodge Journey 4X4/ 6/ 3.6/ $20.94/wknd…..$418.80
Jeep Liberty 4WD/ 6/ 3.7/ $24.18/wknd…..$483.72
$300 – $400.00
Dodge Grand Caravan/ 6/ 3.6/ $19.69/wknd……$392.40
Toyota Tacoma 4X4/ 4/ 2.7/ $19.19/wknd……$383.80
Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4/ 6/ 3.5/ $19.19/wknd……$383.80
Honda CRV AWD/ 4/ 2.4/ $18.70/wknd……$374.80
Chevrolet Equinox AWD/ 4/ 2.4/ $17.20/wknd……$344.00
Suzuki SX4 AWD/ 4/ 2.4/ $16.45/wknd……$329.00
Toyota Yaris 4/ 1.5/ $14.21/wknd……$284.20
As you can see, there is not as much variation in fuel consumption as you might expect among the vehicles I chose. That is because I looked for similar sized vehicles.
Size Matters (sort of)
Fuel consumption depends on the size of the engine and vehicle, but not entirely. Some of the smaller vehicles are no better on fuel than the larger ones.
I included the Toyota Yaris, which is clearly the most economical of this list, for comparison. A small vehicle, while usually more economical, is not as useful for loading up for trips to the cottage, nor are they usually any good for towing boats and travel trailers.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is not a definitive list, nor is it very scientific. It is merely a comparison to give you an idea of what kind of costs you will rack up driving back and forth to the cottage for the summer season.
Given the current climate of gas prices I suspect the above costs are low, as the price of gas will likely be higher as the busy driving season approaches.
For my fuel consumption numbers I used the 2011 edition of the Fuel Consumption Guide. It can be assumed that some of these vehicles will have shown improvements in consumption figures with the 2012 vehicle model year.
How about you? What does it cost you to go to the cottage for the weekend?