Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 2, 2008

We're now well into the holiday travel season, when every driver must answer a critical question while on the road:

Can I get there with the gas I have?

Like most people, you probably don't think much about taking these risks when your gas tank is pretty full and, given those circumstances, it really isn't something you need to think much about.

But things change when you find yourself on the margins, when you maybe have just a little more than fumes to get where you really want to go. Can you get there with what you've got? Or should you seriously disrupt what you had planned to do, even to the point of missing out on part of it, for the sake of ensuring that you can get there at all?

Just how should you place your bets?

Fortunately for you, Geek Logik author Garth Sundem has already considered these questions, balancing factors such as how strongly you believe you can actually do it, how important it really is for you to get there, and minor details like how much time and gas you have. Our tool below takes his math and can tell you whether or not you ought to stop for gas now, or if you ought to hold out until later.

And before you ask, we're not really sure how one might access this tool while they're driving. We're still working out those bugs and until then, you really should be paying attention to the road and not surfing the web while driving. For now, think of this as a simulation to tell you what to do if you should ever encounter these circumstances on the road....

Driving and Time Data
Input Data Values
How bad or dangerous would it be to get stranded?
(1-10 with 10 being "Alaskan highway as winter closes in.")
(1-10 with 10 being "damn the torpedoes!")
How long until you are due to arrive? [in minutes]
How much time is needed to drive where you are going? [in minutes]
How much extra time will you add by stopping for gas? [in minutes]
What is the importance of arriving on time?
(1-10 with 10 being "late for my shuttle launch.")
What is the importance of getting there at all?
(1-10 with 10 being "picking up girlfriend at wilderness trailhead.")
How many miles to your destination?
Estimated number of miles left in your gas tank.

Keep Going or Go Get Gas?
Calculated Results Values
Fill Up Index Factor
The Bottom Line

The result that tips the balance between stopping for gas and keeping going is a Fill Up Index Factor of 1. Above that level, you really ought to be stopping for gas. Below it, and you've determined that getting there is more important. As always, we provide this information so you can play with the numbers to find where your real limits are!

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Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

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