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You can pinch pennies ... or ...

May 13th, 2008 at 07:01 am

Drive a more fuel efficient car. And it's better for the environment too! Let me give a personal example. I went from driving a 1996 Dodge Avenger to a 2008 Toyota Yaris.

1996 Avenger: 21 mpg (rated @ 24 mpg, but it's old)
2008 Toyota Yaris: 32 mpg

With gas at $3.50/gallon and driving 12K miles a year it would cost me:

1996 Avenger: $1750
2008 Yaris: $1312 (save $438/yr)

Let me give some comparisons:

2008 Toyota Prius: $903
2008 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV: $1312
2008 Dodge Grand Caravan: $2100
2008 Ford Taurus: $2100

If gas were at $4.00 then you would save relative to a Grand Caravan/Ford Taurus:

Prius: $1368/yr
Civic: $1230/yr
Escape Hybrid: $900/yr

**Here I am just giving fuel savings for a fixed price and driving behavior. This is not a "cost to drive" value. Cost to drive also depends on capital cost (vehicle purchase price), maintenance costs, depreciation and car financing. Here are the cost to drive numbers for my:

Avenger: $0.25 / mile (assuming $2.50 gas)
Avenger: $0.30 / mile (assuming $3.50 gas) Yaris (so far): $0.78 / mile (assuming $3.50 gas)
Yaris (12 yr): $0.26 / mile (assuming $3.50 gas)
Yaris (15 yr): $0.23 / mile (assuming $3.50 gas)

10 Responses to “You can pinch pennies ... or ...”

  1. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Gee, your cost to drive values seem low to me. I think it was back in the late 70's a book was written (I have it somewhere and will look to find the title and the amount), but back then it was like .55 a mile to drive. Are you including insurance and auto upkeep in these costs?

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Nice comparisons. I have a Dodge Caravan and a Ford Taurus!! One will be switched to a Honda or Toyota eventually. You make an excellent point, that looking at high dollar expenditures like gasoline or insurance can often mean more savings than pinching a few pennies here and there. Do both and you save even more!!

  3. Aleta Says:

    I think that the poster is talking about miles per gallon not the maintenance.

    The IRS is allowing $.505 per mile which includes gas, insurance and upkeep.

  4. Jake Stichler Says:

    I switched from a 92 F150 that gets 15mpg or so to a 2006 Honda Big Ruckus that gets 70mpg.


  5. gruntina Says:

    I am lucky to be married to a mechanic. My hubby will install a hydrogen tank to my Ford Escape. It will increase the gas mileage to between 30-50 percent. Now I do not need to sell and buy a vehicle.

  6. disneysteve Says:

    Even though I could get better mileage with a new car, I'd have to buy a new car. It is cheaper overall to keep my old car and spend a little more on gas. The interest I earn by holding on to the 20K makes up for the extra I'm spending on gas.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    That's what I thought DS. It would take over 45 years to save enough on gas money to make it worthwhile! However, if you were in the market for a new car and intended to spend that much anyway, I can definitely see the reasoning.

  8. Lux Living Frugalis Says:

    Yup, my truck is paid for. I'm keeping her! That and I get fairly decent gas mileage already.

  9. Mulyanto Says:

    luxlivingfrugalis - About maintenance and insurance. I only pay about $30 / mo on insurance on my old car. And by my own admission, I don't take care of it very well. I do my own oil changes, brakes, spark plugs, etc. So it is a lot cheaper compared to bringing it to the shop. YOu're right about the Toyota cost to drive figures. I calculated a combined $6000 maintenance and insurance. Which might be low 'cause I only calculated $30 / mo on insurance and $20 / mo on maintenance. The one thing I can't get arround doing myself are tires, and they can be expensive sometimes.

  10. Mulyanto Says:

    Disney steve - I agree, the capital costs are high for cars, so it takes a long long time to earn it back. As you can see from my own (maybe slightly flawed) calculation I would only earn the money back after 12 or so years. There's always a debate whether it is cheaper to only drive beater cars (with higher maintenance) or buy a new car and drive it until it dies, with lower initial maintenance (but higher depreciation) and the opposite later. Then I have friends who tell me it is best to buy a 2 yr old car, and drive it for 5 years or so, because the most depreciation occurs in the first 2 years.

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