Will it cost more to drive or take public transit?

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Man standing at a subway platform (Photo: Index Open)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 16, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: fuel, public transportation, Sarah Pascarella, technology and gadget.

It's one of the bigger questions of the summer: Will you save more by driving or using public transit? Luckily, there are online tools that can help you make an informed decision.

Several fuel cost calculators can show you the price of gas around the country. I like AAA's version, which not only displays the price of gas nationwide, but also calculates how much fuel you'll use by car brand, model, and year. MapQuest has a similar tool, as does GasBuddy. By comparing fuel prices for your route, you'll get a good sense of what your road trip will cost.


However, you might be thinking of leaving your car behind and taking buses, subways, or trains for your trip. If you're headed to a major city, the best way to determine what public transit will cost you is by visiting that city's transit website. Columnist Ed Perkins recently put together a handy compilation of these sites, with more than 20 destinations included. Once on your city's site, you can research point-to-point prices, rush-hour fees, available discounts, and more.

Once you've checked a few fuel calculators and public transit sites, you'll have a good sense of which option provides the most budget-friendly transportation for your upcoming trip.

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