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12 January 2006 @ 11:46 am
Fuel economy, revisited  
Watching my car's odometer crawl toward the 100 kilomile mark, my thoughts stray once again to wondering if I could save money on a more fuel-efficient car. I don't really NEED a station wagon, and by my latest estimates I am getting only a about 22 miles/gallon.

First, let's assume I'll continue to drive about 15,000 miles a year. Second, assume I wont want to drive the replacement car any longer than I drove this one: six years so far. Third, assume insurance costs will remain the same (unlikely unless I buy it outright). Fourth, assume identical maintenance costs (also unlikely, with warranties and such). The flaws in assumptions 3 and 4 may cancel out. Finally, assume an average gas price for this pariod of $3 a gallon, half again what we are paying now for regular ($2.03 near my house, $1.97 near my office).

15,000 miles/year * (1/(22 miles/gallon)) = 680 gallons/year
680 gallons/year * $3/gallon = $2040 dollars per year.

In other words, if I acquired a miraculous fuel-less car with no other hidden costs, it could save me $2040 a year. If I was planning to drive it for six year, it should be willing to pay up to $12,240 to upgrade to such a car. Similarly, a car that gets 60 miles/gallon would be worth an upgrade price of up to $7,740.

Unless my repair costs start invalidating the above assumptions, I'm probably going to wait a few more years.
Stupendous Manfarmalloc on January 12th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Should that read 60 miles/gallon? Yeah as much as people bitch about gas prices they arn't _that_ bad. I mean 2000 bucks a year is not that much. Personally I find if I just use public transportation more I save all around...Both in gas and repair costs. With a car that is a couple thousand miles 200K I need all the help I can get.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on January 12th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
Right, 60 miles/gallon. Edited.

The trouble is that my commute is from not-quite-convenient Seattle to not-quite-convenient Bellevue, meaning that any commute by bus would mean two or three non-optimized transfers and a minimum of about 90 minutes, to replicate a vehicular commute that averages 25 minutes.

According to Metro, it would take me more than an hour just to get to the office from the Mercer Island park and ride.

If I ever leave here, I need to get a job at Amazon just for the sweet commute.
Stupendous Manfarmalloc on January 12th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
You can look into starting or joining a vanpool for your area. That is what I do and it is sweet. That way you get free gas and free repairs. Provided your company has a transportation subsidy.
Lady Doomlithera on January 12th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
You aren't factoring in the bit where you seem to /want/ a sweet new car. Or at least it comes up often enough that it might imply such a desire, at least.
Carol Magallanessilentpartner10 on January 13th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
Does the general satisfaction that you would be using less of a non-renewable resource play a factor at all? I know that doesnt have a monetary value, so it would be hard to write that in, unless you found a 'goodwill' calculator somewhere...