Thanks for all of the replies. At this point I'm pretty set on getting a gas saver. Right now I am daily driving the truck, it's kinda fun to drive in its own way... but man those fill ups are depressing. I think that even with the associated expenses of another vehicle, the gas savings will bring me even, if not in the black. I am at about 15,000 miles a year. I am already driving eco consciously and getting 16mpg, so aero mods may get me 18? 20 maybe? That is 750 gallons a year, at 20mpg. Or $2,500 at current gas prices. A 40mpg average car will consume 375 gallons for $1240/year.
I do all of my own maintenance and work, including rebuilds and whatnot, and I'm a freak about replacing all the worn out items on my (new) used cars. So yeah there will be that expense. If I grab a civic I'll almost certainly be doing the timing belt plus going over the whole thing, probably several hundred dollars all said and done.
I won't deny the fun of getting a new car, even if it is a beater. And learning to do eco mods, projects like that are fun. Get to refine my glass skills
I am going to look at a '96 HX tomorrow. I saw from the pictures it has a fart can
but otherwise unmolested. If the entire exhaust from the header back is hacked up I may pass.
Would be better if you could do both, modding the offroad truck and getting a commuter. You could consider a Diesel engine swap for the truck.
That's not a good option here in the states. We only have big diesel engines, inline 6 or v8 that weight nearly 1k lbs, or VW tdi's. I have a hilux, mini truck, so VW is only choice that fits. Expensive and takes custom machining of a bell housing adapter. There are guys that have done it, but it is $$$$.
He also has tires on his truck that could very well cost $1,000 for a set and if they are anything like the truck tires we have at work, you replace them twice as often as car tires.
They're about $750, I wait for the sales. But yeah, expensive! My last set did last 55k miles, not much different than passenger tires. I will say that hardcore rock tires or certain mud terrains are way soft and will wear accordingly. Wear faster on road = better traction off road, typically.