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Old 03-22-2014, 09:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Master EcoModder
 
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14 MPG is about 25 cents a mile.That's $600 a month out the tailpipe. If you just tripled the gas mileage it would still pay for everything.
I'm a little over 6 feet and just under 210.
For reliability and no where near your budget an Echo would get you close to 40MPG and cost nothing near your budget. Yaris is the newer generation of the Echo.
Get out of the trap of super expensive transportation. Illinois is rough on older cars, you might consider looking further south for a good example.
The Echo has no timing belt (read expensive to replace). It ain't there to break. They are super reliable cars, and most maintenance is simple and inexpensive.

regards
Mech
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