How Many Miles Can You Drive on One Gallon of Gasoline?

Last Updated on December 16, 2023

If you have one gallon of gas in your tank, you could drive anywhere from 10 to 40 miles, depending on many factors.

A gallon of gas costs $3 to $5, on average, depending on your location. A single gallon could get you as far as 40 miles.

Keep reading to find out how far you could drive on one gallon of gas.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The average vehicle can travel between 20 to 30 miles on one gallon of gas, though this varies based on driving conditions and vehicle characteristics.
  2. Gas prices range from $3 to $5 per gallon, influenced by geographical location.
  3. Factors like vehicle make and model, tire alignment, driving habits, and environmental conditions significantly impact a vehicle’s gas mileage.
  4. Record the mileage before and after refueling and divide the distance by the gallons of gas used to calculate a car’s MPG.

You Can Expect to Drive 20 to 30 Miles on a Gallon of Gas

A gallon of gas, which costs anywhere from $3 to $5, will allow you to drive 20 to 30 miles in an average vehicle.

The average vehicle gets around 25 miles per gallon for highway driving.

The actual distance you can travel on a gallon of gas varies based on many factors – including the mileage of your vehicle, the type of driving you do, the maintenance status of your vehicle, and more.

If driving in the city, you can expect to get less than 25 miles per gallon. A single gallon of gas may only allow you to travel 10 miles in the city, for example. If you’re stopping and starting your vehicle frequently, then you’ll experience significantly worse gas mileage.

Similarly, driving at high speeds or over mountain passes will affect mileage, as will dozens of other circumstances.

How Far Does One Gallon Go? Things to Consider

Other things to consider when calculating the distance you can travel with a gallon of gas include:

Vehicle Make & Model: Some vehicles have good gas mileage, while others do not.

Tire Alignment: Vehicles with perfectly aligned tires have better gas mileage than vehicles with alignment issues.

Driving Habits: Driving at safe speed limits and practicing normal braking and acceleration habits will increase mileage more than someone who stops suddenly or accelerates rapidly.

City vs. Rural Driving: A gallon of gas is unlikely to take you 25 to 30 miles in a city. When driving in the city, you’ll stop and accelerate frequently, reducing your mileage. When driving in the countryside, meanwhile, you can get the best possible gas mileage because of fewer stops and starts.

Seasonal & Environmental Conditions: Seasonal and environmental factors impact your vehicle mileage. Icy roads, wet roads, wind, and other conditions can all affect gas mileage.

Oil Type: The type of oil you use affects the friction in your engine. Full synthetic oil, for example, could have 5% to 15% better gas mileage than conventional oil.

Tire Inflation: Are your tires inflated to the manufacturers’ recommended standards? You’ll have better gas mileage than someone with under-inflated or over-inflated tires.

Vehicle Maintenance: Is your vehicle well maintained? Do you keep up-to-date on your oil changes? The better your vehicle maintenance record is, the better your gas mileage will be.

Load Size: Are you driving a vehicle with passengers in every seat? Are you hauling a trailer? Do you have lots of luggage or cargo? All of these factors reduce mileage.

Driving Speed: All cars have an optimal driving speed for the best possible mileage. This specific speed varies based on vehicle make and model. Driving significantly faster or slower than that speed will worsen mileage.

Elevation: If you’re driving uphill, then you’ll get significantly worse gas mileage than someone driving at flat elevations or downhill. A gallon of gas is unlikely to take you 30 miles up a mountain pass, for example.

Overall, all of these factors are unlikely to have a significant impact on gas mileage over one gallon or 25 miles. Regardless of the factors above, you can still expect your car to drive 20 to 30 miles on a gallon of gas.

How to Calculate Your Vehicle’s MPG

Curious about how far your car goes one a gallon of gas? You can easily calculate your vehicle’s MPG yourself.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1) Fill up your tank.
  • Step 2) Reset your trip odometer. Or, write down your current mileage.
  • Step 3) Drive until your car needs a refill.
  • Step 4) When refilling your gas, check the number of gallons it takes to fill your tank.
  • Step 5) Check the new odometer reading. Or, write down the mileage of your vehicle.
  • Step 6) Subtract the first mileage from the second mileage to determine the number of miles you drove between refills. Then, divide the result by the number of gallons of gas you used to refill your vehicle. The resulting figure is your car’s miles per gallon, or MPG.

Let’s say you fill up your vehicle and notice your odometer is at 55,000. You drive your vehicle 100 miles before you refill it. Your odometer now sits at 55,100. When refilling your gas tank, you notice you add 5 gallons of gas to make your tank full. Your vehicle has an MPG of 20 miles per gallon (100/5 = 20).

Final Word

The average vehicle gets around 25 miles per gallon for highway driving.

If you add one gallon of gas to your vehicle, then that gallon should take you 20 to 30 miles, on average.

If you’re driving in the city, you’ll drive significantly fewer miles on a gallon of gas because of frequent braking and acceleration. If you’re driving in the countryside, then you’ll drive significantly more miles on a gallon of gas. Elevation, vehicle maintenance, vehicle type, and other factors also affect mileage significantly.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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