Readers Respond

Gas price not the costliest factor in road trips | READER COMMENTARY

A meaningful calculation of the cost of road trips should go beyond the cost of fueling up.

Your story, “The open road still beckons,” reprinted from the March 31 New York Times, illustrates a common misconception among drivers about mileage costs.

For tax year 2022, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows $0.585/mile tax deduction for allowable vehicle use. Similar compensation is offered by the U.S. Government and major employers for employees using their cars on corporate business.


This reflects a fleet-wide average of the aggregate cost of fuel, vehicle depreciation, maintenance, tolls and (I suppose) fixed annual costs such as license tax and insurance, averaged over vehicle mileage.

To the point, which is detailed in the third paragraph of your story, a driver notes the recent increase in gasoline costs from $120 to $230 for a 1,900-mile journey.


Per IRS rates, which I think it is safe to say, were not designed to give taxpayers a sweet deal, the fully loaded cost of that trip was about $1,100.

Individual mileage costs vary. Maintenance spending often comes in lumps. Mileage depreciation becomes suddenly known to those who trade in or sell used vehicles.

The price of fuel is a factor in the cost of per-mile driving, but it may not be the largest such cost for most drivers.

Charles Clark, Silver Spring

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