Turkey cupcakeWhether or not your Thanksgiving plans require a trip over rivers or through woods, Mapquest has a new little tool to help you figure out what it’s going to cost you in gasoline. 

When you use the site to get driving directions, it now prompts you to calculate your fuel cost based on your vehicle’s estimated miles per gallon and using local gas prices. It’s not crazy accurate, but at least gives you a ballpark idea.

When I used it recently to calculate the cost of a quick trip from my house in north Seattle to a spot just south of the Interstate-90 bridge’s west end—a round trip of about 28 miles—I was surprised at the price in petrol. My car’s a Camry hybrid and pretty efficient but it was still going to cost me about $2.60 for this one drive, and that was assuming possibly better mileage than I’d get in traffic (I figured it was about 30 mpg). If my mom was to make the same trip in her smallish SUV, she’d burn through about $4.30, which—call me cheap—starts to feel like real money (sorry mom, I’m really not picking on you, and I can’t wait for your pie on Thursday!). 

  • Depending on your level of thrift, this little tool could give one pause when planning a trip and help drivers consider transit and carpooling alternatives. Of course my other favorite site for getting directions—Google maps—clearly still beats Mapquest in greeness thanks to its Google Transit tool.

    And while we’re playing transit games, don’t forget Walk Score, the site that lets you find a walkable neighborhood so you won’t need Mapquest as often. In a ranking of US cities, San Fran scores No. 1 for walkability, Seattle is No. 6, and Portland’s a respectable No. 10.

    Turkey cupcake photo courtesy of Flickr user lordogunder aCreative Commons license.