auto

$100 fill-up coming to pump near you

With speculators running up the price of a barrel of oil to the $100 range, there can be little doubt that the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is headed for maybe even $4, before there's any sort of fallback.

While such price hikes will increase the pressure on new vehicle buyers to look for more fuel-efficient vehicles, there's a real sticker shock awaiting those who need or want a big sport utility vehicle or pickup truck.

Those vehicles are among the thirstiest gas-guzzlers, delivering an average of 14 to16 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving if a driver is judicious with the gas pedal.

The real shock for drivers of these automobiles will come when the tank approaches empty and it's time to fill up. Because they burn a lot of fuel, these vehicles have larger gas tanks, which can mean that the final total on the gas pump can be frightening.

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How frightening? How about $100 per fill-up?

At $3.50 a gallon, getting change from a Ben Franklin is not likely to happen very often. And on some vehicles, it will cost more than $100 to fill up.

Here's a list of some of the biggest budget busters on the market, including tank size and how much it costs to fill an empty tank at $3.50 a gallon.

Fill 'er up
Make and modelTank sizeCost
Chrysler Aspen SUV27 gallons$94.50
Ford Expedition SUV28 gallons$98.00
Infiniti QX56 SUV28 gallons$98.00
Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV31 gallons$108.50
Chevrolet Suburban SUV31 gallons$108.50
Chevrolet Avalanche SUV31 gallons$108.50
Hummer H2 SUV32 gallons$112.00
Ford Expedition EL SUV33.5 gallons$117.25
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD pickup34 gallons$119.00
Dodge Ram 2500 pickup35 gallons$122.50
Nissan Titan pickup37 gallons$129.50
Ford F250 Super Duty pickup38 gallons$133.00

Of course, as the price of gasoline rises, owners of more economical vehicles like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry will also get wallet shock. Both cars come with 18.5-gallon gas tanks that would cost $64.75 for a fill-up.

We all need to drive, and while the ultimate measure of economy is the number of miles that can be squeezed from a gallon of fuel, it's worth considering what you're likely to be spending when that tank runs dry and to factor it into your budget.

How far will you car go on a tank of gas? See Bankrate's " How far can you go?" calculator.

Here are this week's reader questions:
$100 fill-up coming to pump near you
Do I have to pay taxes on a car I'm using overseas?
How can a co-signer protect his rights?
Do down payments differ at credit unions?
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