Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.
When the Blues Brothers, Elwood and Jake, took their 100-mile road trip to Chicago in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers," gasoline was actually more expensive than it is now, all things considered. In 1980, the price of gasoline was $3.50 a gallon when adjusted for inflation, largely because the Iranian Revolution had clamped down on oil production and spurred panic about prices.
Today, that 106-mile road trip to Chicago would be significantly cheaper. Oil prices have fallen to historic lows, and a gallon of gasoline is less than $2 in most states. That might be a bad thing for struggling U.S. oil companies or the environment, but it's a great thing for people who want to go on road trips.
A new series of maps from Howmuch.net, a cost information website, demonstrates just how far gas will get you these days. The maps show how far you can drive from major U.S. cities with just $50 of gas. In the maps below, the lightest green area can be reached with only $10 of gas. The darkest green area can be reached with $50. Their estimate is based on a car that gets 24 miles to the gallon.
Here is the map for Atlanta. $50 gets you to Washington, and almost to Miami, though not quite:
Bostonians can take a nice trip into Canada or down to North Carolina:
Drivers from Charlotte can get to Memphis, Tampa, New York or Detroit:
The $50 range from Chicago includes both Nebraska and New York:
Drivers from Cleveland can make it to Des Moines or New Hampshire:
Drivers from Denver can reach more than a dozen natural parks:
Houstonions have a lot of great options for a $50 trip, including the Florida panhandle or the Gulf coast of Mexico:
With $50, drivers from Kansas City can get to Chattanooga or the Badlands:
Drivers from Las Vegas can hit a lot of attractions, including tons of parks and protected areas:
The situation from Los Angeles is similar, with $50 taking you up to Sacramento or down into Mexico's Baja Peninsula:
From Miami, your driving options are obviously more limited:
Even $50 of gas away from Minneapolis, and you're still in either the Midwest or Canada:
From New York $50 will take you to Acadia National Park, Toledo, Oh. or Durham, N.C.:
From San Francisco you can make it to Crater Lake in Oregon, or almost all the way to San Diego:
A $50 drive from Seattle will take you into British Columbia or California's Red Wood forests:
And Washingtonians can make it to Maine, Michigan or Georgia:
Try it out, but remember that these are one-way trips -- you'll need to buy more gas if you want to get home.
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