Posted by CNN Money on December 22, 2014 by Heather Long
Rick Marxsen knows exactly how much gas cost the last time he filled up the tank of his Toyota Tacoma.
He paid $2.29 a gallon in Denver, Colorado. Gas is even cheaper in his eastern Nebraska hometown, but he had to go with what was available when he was traveling for work as a member of a Union Pacific ( ) railroad construction gang.
The U.S. government estimates Americans will save $550 on gas in 2015, and many have already saved hundreds this year. For people like Marxsen who are on the road constantly, it’s an even bigger benefit.
Marxsen and his colleagues often travel up to 700 miles to do repairs on the railroad lines. They trade tips on how to survive lonely stretches of Wyoming highway and, since they receive per diem travel rates, they trade tips on where to find the cheapest gas.
“I never thought I’d see gas less than $3 again,” he says. “You’re going from spending $50 to spending $30 [a tank],” he says.
Back when gas was over $3.50 in the summer, Marxsen would barely break even on some trips. Now that gas is so low, his per diem is almost like a bonus.
The savings are clear. The question now for Marxsen and millions of other Americans is what to do with the money: spend, save, invest or donate it.