How Much Your Gas Guzzler is Really Costing You (and Why You Should Keep It)
One of our favorite memories as a kid was looking at car posters. It didn’t matter if it was a Ferrari F40 or a GMC Syclone, it was all exciting art to a young car enthusiast. Fuel efficiency and cost of ownership never crossed our minds. All we wanted was to one day have a cool car.
It’s almost a cruel twist of irony that when you finally get to the age to own an exciting car all your own, you are forced to deal with the reality that exciting cars are rarely practical. With gas prices as high as they have ever been, fuel economy is now a common topic at the dinner table. For those who drive their project car or weekend wheeler daily, the pain at the pump may have you ready to throw in the towel. If you find yourself trying to justify how you can keep the dream alive and drive something you love, then it’s important to know the financial impact of that.
We recently sat down and looked at what the numbers truly are. This meant breaking down the actual cost-per-mile that our “fun” cars are making us fork out. We then compared this with what it would potentially cost to drive an “eco-friendly” vehicle. The results were surprising.
Cost Per Mile (Fuel Only)
If you want to figure out how much your ride is actually costing you to drive, there’s a simple formula. You just need to know how many miles-per-gallon your vehicle is getting. With that figure, you will divide that by the cost of fuel per gallon. For example, if a gallon of fuel is $4.30, and your ride gets a whopping 13 miles per gallon, this means it’s costing you 33-cent per mile (4.30 dived by 13).
Cost Per Month
Now that you know how much your ride is costing per mile (fuel only), you can get an approximate on how much that will cost you per month. Assuming you drive the national average of approximately 14,000 miles per year, your 13 mpg vehicle is going to cost you $385 per month to drive (at the rate of $4.30 per gallon).
Eco Box Versus Hot Rod
Let’s say you sold your exciting vehicle and replaced it with a more fuel-efficient car that gets 25 mpg (the EPA average for modern vehicles). This means for the same cost of fuel you’ll only be spending 17-cent per mile ($199 per month). The total savings per year compared to the 13-mpg car would be $2,240 ($186 per month).
Saving a $186 per month isn’t nothing, but that savings assumes a few things. First, it would assume that you sold your old vehicle to purchase the new one. It also assumes that the cost of insurance and routine maintenance would remain the same. If, however, you needed finance the new vehicle and/or opted to keep your existing ride and simply add-on the more fuel-efficient vehicle, that $186 would disappear almost instantly. By many reports, the average monthly payment for a new car is a round $650 and $500 for used. Adding taxes, insurance, and maintenance to that figure and your more fuel-efficient vehicle is now costing you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars more per month.
Keep The Dream Alive
The reality with fuel is that it’s a variable that’s rarely a constant. How much you drive, how you drive, and the cost-per-gallon are fluid. Adding a car payment, along with another vehicle to insure, however, will be a fixed number (at least for a few years). Our best advice to any car enthusiast that considers what they drive as much a part of their lifestyle as the clothes they wear is twofold. First, do the math and find out what it’s truly costing you to drive your beloved project car. It might not be as bad as you think. Second, do your homework on what adding or swapping vehicles is actually going to cost you. We get that paying more for gas sucks. However, bailing on your current ride is rarely as much of a financial freedom as people often think. At the end of the day, think back to why you became a car enthusiast and what that kid staring at the poster would do.
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