Tuesday, June 13, 2006

cents per mile

Looking back over the years (since May of 2001, to be exact), I've spent $18,752.42 on driving. In return, I've got a car worth about $3,000, plus 57167.3 miles on my odometer. What does this mean? It means that my car over time costs 27.6 cents per mile.

I remember the last time I did this calculation I was under 25 cents a mile. Why did it go up? A few reasons:
  1. I calculated it differently this time
    Last time I excluded things like parking, tolls, and traffic tickets. This time I didn't bother with sorting through that. I'm guessing that would add another $500 or 1 cent/mile. Whew! Feel even better now!

  2. Gas costs more
    Last time I calculated this, gas was something like $1.20 a gallon. It's over twice that now. You'd think this would make my costs skyrocket. Thankfully there's things like cheaper insurance and more highway miles that offset this. Imagine if gas was still that cheap!
Bottom line? My car is still reliable enough that I'm not spending too much on repairs. Granted, I can't really see when that would be the case, considering that labor is essentially free. It'll be time to stop when the cost to fix the car exceeds the replacement cost of the car. In other words, when the engine completely dies or something else terrible happens to the car. Eeek!

Now... for all you people who make car payments, here's a rough comparison. Let's get your run of the mill cheap-ass car with a car payment of $199 a month. Assuming that you drive 12,000 miles a year (typical), that would be 1,000 miles per month. Match that with the $199 monthly payment and you already have 20 cents per mile. Working backwards, if you want this car to be as cost efficient as mine, you'd only have 6.7 cents per mile for things like gas, tires, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. Sheesh! Even if it was just gas, good luck on finding a car that costs 6.7 cents per mile for gas. With gas costing $2.87 per gallon as it does today, you'd need a car that gets 43 mpg. Good luck with that one!

Now with the jerk example. Let's say I have a gas guzzling car that gets 15 mpg (think any big truck). With gas at $2.87 a gallon, gasoline alone would cost 19 cents a mile. Sweet!

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