Sunday, January 02, 2011

Elantra Touring Mileage Part 3 - Driving versus Amtrak

Happy Gregorian New Year!

We're back from our vacation, which included driving to Southern California and back.  Since I have blogged twice about our new car's mileage, I thought I should finish the story by documenting how it did with a long road trip.

We filled up the tank before leaving Eugene on December 15th, and then thirteen times while away, and then a final time today at Costco.  We drove 3,228 miles (including that initial fill-up before leaving town), with an average of 30.2 miles per gallon.

The highest mileage tank was our smallest fill-up, after driving from relatives in San Diego to other relatives in Mission Viejo: 37.8 mpg after driving on a relatively flat freeway in light traffic.  Our lowest mileage tank was after driving from Willows to Yreka, 24.5 mpg after driving faster and uphill.

In 2008 we did a similar vacation but took the train.  That worked great with a teething infant, since we could pace the parlor car all night long.

How does Amtrak's prices compare with our road trip?

Our total cost of gas for the road trips from Eugene to San Diego and then back (ignoring the gas used driving around during the rest of the vacation) and three nights of hotels was $612.44.

Amtrak's smallest room, the Superliner Roomette, would have been less expensive at $584 round trip.  That is what we did in 2008.  The room has no floor space, so Smiley had to play with toys in the parlor car.  Also, Smiley was so tiny that he could sleep on the floor under the bunk beds.  This size room could work again, but we would need to take shifts sleeping.

The middle-sized room, the Superliner Bedroom, would be more expensive than driving, at $992 round trip.  That room has enough floor space for playing with toys.  It also has only two beds, but the lower bed is large enough for an adult and toddler to sleep together more comfortably.

Now that Uncle Nathan lives a block away, perhaps next time we visit our relatives in California we will all take the train.  We could get the Superliner Bedroom and the three adults could take shifts sleeping.  It would be only slightly more expensive than a road trip with a second hotel room each night, and much faster and easier.

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