General Hacks

What’s the Actual Cost of an Automatic Car Wash with per Gallon Savings

About once every 2 or 3 months I’ll purchase a car wash when I fill up my truck with gas. The station where I usually fill up has an automatic car wash and the menus on the pump allow me to easily add a wash to my fuel bill and pay for it all right there at the pump. It’s all really convenient!

At this particular station, they also give you discounts on your fuel, depending on which type of wash you purchase:
– Ultra Wash costs $9 and you get a $.15/gallon discount
– Super Wash costs $8 and you get a $.10/gallon discount
– Basic Wash costs $7 and you get a $.05/gallon discount

I’m sure that a lot of customers are swayed by the cost per gallon savings. However, I know that is just a gimmick to get you purchase a car wash. Most people aren’t going to take the time to calculate what the car wash actually costs. Of course, I’m not like most people. 🙂

I usually fill up my truck when it is very close to empty–my wife hates that I do this, but it just makes the most sense to me to use as much fuel between fills as possible so I don’t waste any more time than necessary in the entire fueling process. Usually I can pump 16-gallons of gas into my trucks fuel tank when it is near empty. So here is my fuel savings for each of the different wash options:
–  $2.40 for Ultra Wash (16-gallons x $.15)
–  $1.60 for Super Wash (16-gallons x $.10)
–  $.80 for Basic Wash (16-gallons x $.05)

Remember that the gas savings is just a gimmick. However, you can deduct the fuel savings from the cost of the wash to calculate the actual cost of the wash like so:
–  $9 Ultra Wash – $2.40 fuel savings = $6.60
–  $8 Super Wash – $1.60 fuel savings = $6.40
–  $7 Basic Wash – $80 fuel savings = $6.20

So, if I’m going to pay $6.20 for a car wash anyway (the Basic Wash), it’s probably worth it to pay the extra 40-cents to get the extra benefits of the Ultra Wash. And if I was purchasing more than 20 gallons of gas then Super Wash becomes cheaper than the Basic Wash and the Ultra Wash becomes cheaper than the Super Wash. And if you happen to have a large truck, or want to fill up multiple vehicles at once, you can get an Ultra Wash for free with a 60-gallon fuel purchase. If you purchase more than 60-gallons of fuel, they will be saving money so it’s like they are paying you to get the wash!

Now, it’s up to each person to decide if it’s worth the cost of an automatic car wash to use it instead of just washing your car yourself with a garden hose, bucket, rag, and detergent, but at least now if you are going to use the automatic wash you know how to calculate the actual cost.

Remember, as my wife says, “A clean car is a happy car!”

Automatic Car Wash Options

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