The Coming and Going column in the Aug. 28 Travel section said that consumers in Venezuela enjoy the world's lowest gas prices, at 12 cents a gallon. Consumers in Iraq pay as little as 5 cents a gallon for heavily subsidized gas. (Published 8/30/2005)
With gas prices at record highs -- averaging about $2.60 a gallon in the United States last week for regular -- the cost of fuel might need to become a line item in your travel budget.
Okay, so maybe you don't care that gas is going to cost $112.54 if you're driving your new Lamborghini from D.C. to Nags Head, N.C. But we mere mortals may want to turn to www.fuelcostcalculator.com, a nifty site provided courtesy of AAA. Plug in the make, model and year of your car, and get an estimate of what gas is going to cost you on a given trip. It might make you decide to take your Kia on that trip to Nags Head -- at a cost of $58.52 -- instead of your gas-guzzling SUV.
The price calculator gave CoGo new sympathy for the struggling airline industry. Like how can they fly you from D.C. to L.A. for a couple of hundred bucks and change when driving a 1998 Buick Regal costs $537.52 in gas alone?
But to put things in perspective -- and to help you plan your transportation on trips overseas -- consider the price of gas elsewhere. In the Netherlands, a gallon of gas is going for about $6.21 a gallon, according to Associates for International Research, a consulting firm that surveys prices of 320 items around the world. Expect something approaching that price in most of Western Europe. A gallon of gas in Italy, for example, is running about $5.70. In Great Britain, $5.60.
Oil-producing nations have all the bargains. The country with the world's cheapest pump prices is Venezuela, where a gallon of gas goes for 12 cents.
Closer to home, you'll find some price variations, and maybe even a bargain near you, by visiting a site like www.gasbuddy.com, which lists the best and worst prices by state. For example, the Exxon at 6948 S. Kings Hwy. in Alexandria reportedly posted the highest prices in Virginia last week, at $2.89 per gallon. The site shows that if you happen to be heading to Roanoke, you should try getting there on fumes, then fill your tank there, at $2.29 per gallon.
London: Deal Me In
As London continues to rebound from July's bombings, tempting bargains are popping up for hotels and other attractions across the city. Among them:
* Until Sept. 30, the Brunel (79-81 Gloucester), a mid-range property near Paddington Station, is featuring doubles for about $107 per night, or 35 percent off the usual price. For details on that and other two-star hotels: Crystal Hotels, 011-44-207- 259-2888, www.crystalhotels.co.uk.
* At the luxe Swissotel the Howard London (Temple Place), on the Thames, guests can snag double rooms during weekends in September for about $226 a night, half off the regular rate. Details: 800-637-9477,www.swissotel.com.
* Virgin Vacations is offering London packages with air from Dulles, six nights' accomodation and breakfasts starting at about $689 a person, double occupancy. Add around $113 per person in taxes. Reserve by Sept. 29; travel Sept. 6-Oct. 31. Details: 888-937-8474, www.virgin-vacations.com.
* The Japanese restaurant Benihana (37 Sackville St., 011-44-207-494-2525 ) is serving seven-course meals for about $27, a third of the usual cost.
For other deals available through the end of September, check with the city's official tourism bureau, Visit London, www.visitlondon.com.
BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
You Better Belize It
Fly around Central America for less on American Airlines, including Belize City for about $347 round trip. Details: What's the Deal?, Page 3.
Reporting: Gary Lee, Cindy Loose.
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