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Old 10-06-2021, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Calculating cost savings of owning fuel efficient second car for commute?

Hi, I am currently daily driving a truck, and I have a long commute to work, all interstate. I was previously carpooling with several people, so the long commute was not an issue. Unfortunately, the carpool option is no longer available as my carpool friends have all switched to work-from-home, which isn't an option for me. That said, I really like my truck and don't want to sell it. It seems like a waste to keep racking miles up on it and causing it to depreciate in value so much faster than need be.

I am wondering if it would be a net positive to purchase an older fuel efficient car for the daily commute and keep my truck parked in the garage for weekend duty only. Something like a 98 civic or similar car for the commute.

The truck costs me roughly 300 dollars per month in fuel to drive to work. That is fuel alone. I know there are other costs involved such as tire wear, oil changes, and so forth. I also know that putting lots of miles on my truck hurts the resale value, so one day I'll be faced with that hidden cost if I continue racking up the miles on it.

Just a rudimentary estimate I calculated was if I went from driving the 20mpg truck to a 40mpg car, that I would save roughly 150.00 per month in fuel costs. But the car would also cost me an additional 50-60 per month in insurance, so now my savings are cut to about 90.00 per month or about 1k per year.

I estimate about 3 oil changes per year, total $150ish for DIY, and tires being replaced every 2ish years @ a cost of roughly $300 every other year. I also understand the car has an upfront costs to purchase, but I will get some of that back when I sell it, and it's already had the bulk of depreciation occur since it's older, so I'm sort of looking at that cost as a "1/2" cost. It seems like after all that is considered I'm still coming out ahead just on the fuel costs for the truck alone, not even factoring in the other wear and tear items or the accelerated depreciation on the truck.

Has anyone run similar calculations or been in similar situation w a long commute, and if so, what did you do or what would you do?

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Old 10-06-2021, 04:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What you think about Toyota Corolla ( not wagon ) as one option? Definetly you must sit in first then you really can say if it is not an option. But it has good mpg and been available pretty long.

Another came in mind is WV Golf

I estimated that you commute almost 100 miles daily.
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Old 10-06-2021, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maanma View Post
What you think about Toyota Corolla ( not wagon ) as one option? Definetly you must sit in first then you really can say if it is not an option. But it has good mpg and been available pretty long.

I estimated that you commute almost 100 miles daily.
Yes that's right it just a little over 100 miles per day round trip. I will check out the Corolla. Thanks for the input.
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Old 10-06-2021, 04:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When I went to just one car my insurance went up $15. So I went and bought a $300 Prius and my insurance went back down. Ask to make sure it'll really be another $50 or so if you haven't already.

But even at $50, $1,200 per year is still quite a bit. Plus tire wear and other maintenance may stay virtually the same because you're either wearing out tires and putting on miles on the car or on the truck but not both at the same time.


What I did when I started needing to go long distances was I sold all my cars and bought one that would fit all my needs, in this case a full sized hybrid car that gets 40mpg and was in nice condition. Since I do need to haul big stuff I installed a trailer hitch and got a trailer. Sure, i can't haul over 1,000lbs, but the flatbed is much easier to load and unload than out of the bed of a pickup and it's 4'x8' so plywood, drywall and the like all fits perfectly. Surprisingly I got a lot more money out of my old cars than I was anticipating which helped pay for the car I have now.

I figure spend the most on the car I use and need the most. Any other car is of secondary importance of i own another car.
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Old 10-06-2021, 05:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The #1 cost for most owners is depreciation which happens mostly due to age rather than miles driven.

Seems you've done well to estimate the pros and cons. Insurance seems a bit high to me to add a vehicle, but I don't know your circumstances. At my age and lack of infractions, adding a car might cost $200 every 6 months at the high end. Switching insurance companies almost always saves money since they lure people in with low prices and then creep the price up over time (and then tell you you're getting a loyalty discount as the premium goes up).

I'm of the mindset to use the best tool for the job, and a truck is not ideal for long commutes where the utility isn't needed.
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Old 10-06-2021, 07:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In my country I often see people who own a fancier ride buying either a simpler car or some small-displacement motorcycle to use as a daily beater. When the no-drive days scheme was implemented in São Paulo, it led to an increase to the sales of used cars, as some folks bought one with a different last digit on the plates to use mostly when the other car couldn't get driven.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah its called a beater.
One of my friends drives 100 miles a day round trip to work. His commuter car is a 2000 sunfire with 380,000 miles. He is not running up miles like that in his diesel truck.
You better buy a car now as there is a new and used car shortage that's only going to get worse before it gets better.

The perfect time to buy a beater car was 2018. That's when I got my nissan leaf. Gas was under $2 a gallon and no one wanted an electric car.
Unfortunately it's a sellers market and I could easily get about what I paid for it almost 4 years and 50,000 miles ago.
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Old 10-06-2021, 11:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One quick thing: 3 diy oil changes should be much less than $150. You won't need nearly as much oil as the truck. For my car, a diy oil change is about $25-30. If I used cheaper oil, I could probably get that down to $20.

I get oil cheap at WalMart or Amazon. It's very expensive at AutoZone.

It's probably worth running the numbers on, say, a used 2019 Leaf. They are expensive to buy but electricity is very cheap. Maybe about 2 cents per mile.
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Old 10-07-2021, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good point, I was going to mention oil changes...

I'd probably only do 2 oil changes per year assuming about 26,000 miles per year. Highway miles are easy, and I've gone 13,000 miles between changes in the Prius and oil analysis always said it had more life left.

I buy synthetic when it's on sale and stock up. Same with filters. One nice thing is my CBR600 motorcycle uses the same filter as my Acura TSX.
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Old 10-07-2021, 01:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Insurance is definitely the killer of cost savings on an extra car. I argued with my agent when we had 3 cars insured for 2 people we couldn't possibly drive all at the same time and cumulatively no additional miles were happening. I suppose people do loan out extra cars (we did) and every car needs it's own rate.

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