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 Post subject: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Is buying a fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?

My philosophy is to “buy what you love”. If you love it, then you are more willing to take care of it and keep it for the long haul. In my opinion, that philosophy makes for a better investment.

I thought I would open this up for discussion to generate thoughts, ideas, and to help people make a better decision when selecting a vehicle for their commuting needs.

If a commuter drove 15,000 miles annually and averaged 20 mpg, they would consume 750 gallons of fuel. At $4.00 dollars per gallon, the driver would spend $3,000 annually in fuel cost.

If a commuter drove 15,000 miles annually and averaged 40 mpg, they would consume 375 gallons of fuel. At $4.00 dollars per gallon, the driver would spend $1,500 annually in fuel cost.

In the above case scenario, the annual cost savings between a fuel efficient vehicle and non-fuel efficient vehicle would net $1,500. Over the course of 10 years, the driver would save a total of $15,000 dollars. Not bad, eh?

Now, let’s say that a 2012 diesel VW jetta averaged 50 mpg. At 15,000 miles driven annually, the commuter would consume 300 gallons of fuel. At $4.00 dollars per gallon, the driver would spend $1,200 annually in fuel cost. Over the course of 10 years, the driver would save a total of $18,000 over the commuter who’s averaging 20 mpg.

But there’s only one problem. I’m not a big fan of cars, which goes against my philosophy, “buy what you love”. And to reinforce the problem, my wife feels the same way. But sometimes you have to look at economical advantages, and therefore see things a little more holistic.

Is there middle ground? What if a manufacturer made a midsized diesel SUV/Truck that averaged 30 mpg? Would that change my mind? You bet it would. A 30+ mpg Truck/SUV would align with my philosophy while meeting our desire for economical advantages. If I drove 15,000 miles annually and averaged 30 mpg, I would consume 500 gallons of fuel. At $4.00 dollars per gallon, I would spend $2,000 annually in fuel cost. Over the course of 10 years, I would save a total of $10,000 over a vehicle that average 20 mpg.

As for finding our future vehicle, my wife and I have decided to hold out for a diesel 4X4 Truck/SUV that has a highway rating of 30+ mpg. With 2012 emissions aligning globally, this should be plausible.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Don't forget to factor in cost of operations. A vehicle that gets better gas mileage but costs more to service and repair over the same time period may cost more in the long run. And don't forget initial cost differences. And usability...if you constantly need to rent trucks or hire someone because you vehicle won't do what you need it to do then the savings might not be worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Megalos wrote:
Don't forget to factor in cost of operations. A vehicle that gets better gas mileage but costs more to service and repair over the same time period may cost more in the long run.


That’s a valid point. There are a lot of factors involved that I didn’t mention. For example, the cost of gasoline vs. diesel.

Megalos wrote:
And don't forget initial cost differences.


This factor alone can make the most difference when looking at cost savings. If a car costs $26,000 and a midsize SUV/Truck costs $32,000; the overall savings starts to become a little muddy and harder to justify.

Megalos wrote:
And usability...if you constantly need to rent trucks or hire someone because you vehicle won't do what you need it to do then the savings might not be worth it.


That's very true and why I started the discussion with commuting in mind. Many people are not in a position to have multiple vehicles for different usages; instead, they need a vehicle that will meet their primary needs and rent/hire a vehicle/operator to take care of those random times of need. I get phone calls all the time from people who want to borrow/rent/hire out my trailers and/or tow rig, so I get that.

But since you brought up the subject “usability”, I will explain my unique situation. We have a highway rig (Dodge Ram) for all our travel and towing needs. We have a Jeep Cherokee for utilitarian purposes (hauling wood, cutting brush, hunting, and gets us to our property when the roads are bad). And we have a newer and more reliable Jeep (backup Jeep when the other is down, gets us to town to get groceries, and gets us to our property when the roads are bad).

Our most fuel efficient vehicle is the Dodge Ram. It can consistently achieve 21-23 mpg whereas our Jeeps achieve between 15 - 18 mpg. We are considering transferring jobs that will require a commute of 55 miles one-way (110 roundtrip). Like mentioned above, if we can find a vehicle that meets our rural needs and average 30+ mpg, then the fuel benefits, in my opinion, would be worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:01 pm 
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For one I can't stand a car, don't like the driving position, sitting down low etc. So most are out unless it was a Sunday afternoon fun toy.
I buy a vehicle to what I think it will do for me overall, for example 4 doors due to having to take my parents places, ability to tow a trailer, able to go back on the farm to check fences, springs ( water supply) or whatever else it may be. So has to have some ground clearance, 4 wheel drive etc .
I also like to have something I am proud of, that makes people do a double take, stand out in the parking lot, hate cookie cutter cars .
So even if I did buy say a Prius, it would sit 98% of the time, wasted cause I'd hate to drive it.
Now since my direction in life has changed some I am looking at a pickup to put a camper on and travel some, was looking at 2 wheel drives, regular cab. next thing I know its,... well should get the double cab, may as well be 4 wheel drive, etc, then why do I need the KJ then? Its a vicious circle ! :banghead:

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:45 pm 
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tommudd wrote:
I am looking at a pickup to put a camper on and travel some


tommudd wrote:
then why do I need the KJ then? Its a vicious circle ! :banghead:


You just answered your own question above. The 3.7L KJ can't tow much and you certainly can't put a camper on top.

Time for a truck!

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:04 pm 
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I have a 2010 Jetta TDI that averages 40MPG. I can get 48 on highway. I'm not a fan of cars but for as much driving as I do for work I need it. I save the 4x4s for everything else. I wouldn't say I save money doing this since maintaining three vehicles isn't cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:48 pm 
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CIMARRON13 wrote:
I have a 2010 Jetta TDI that averages 40MPG. I can get 48 on highway. I'm not a fan of cars but for as much driving as I do for work I need it. I save the 4x4s for everything else.


I have a co-worker who just bought a 2012 Jetta TDI. She travels the same roads that I do and so far she’s reporting 50 mpg. The speed limit is between 55 and 65 on most of the roads that we drive on, with 55 being the most common. I'm sure those speeds also helps with fuel economy. The Jetta can’t get me to my property part of the year, so that’s why I have historically steered away from cars. With that being said, I could always drive one of my other Jeeps during those times. We travel a lot, so I’m fairly confident that we could easily log over 15,000 miles per year. That’s why I mathematically calculated 50 mpg over the course of 10 years. Assuming that diesel prices stayed around $4.00 for the next 10 years, we could save $18,000 just in fuel savings as compared to driving one of our other vehicles. And in ten years, I would only have 150,000 miles on the Jetta.


CIMARRON13 wrote:
I wouldn't say I save money doing this since maintaining three vehicles isn't cheap.


We own 3 vehicles, and I don't think maintaining them is really any more expensive. Tires, oil changes, and other maintenance lasts longer because you aren’t putting so many miles on one vehicle.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:07 am 
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Skip the whole diesel car idea,will not save you money no matter how good of mpg's it gets.The cost of maintaining a small diesel is easily twice that of a gas engine.Those TDI's also fetch top dollar so no savings there.


Find a mid '80's-'90's full size car(crown vic or caprice),spend a little fixing it up,heck dropping in a new engine and trans would run less then $1500,and have a trouble free vehicle that can go places and get 20's on the highway.Super cheap to maintain once it's in great condition and those 302's and 350's can run forever.


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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:53 am 
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tjkj2002 wrote:
Skip the whole diesel car idea,will not save you money no matter how good of mpg's it gets.The cost of maintaining a small diesel is easily twice that of a gas engine.Those TDI's also fetch top dollar so no savings there.


That's not necessarily true. VW offers free maintenance for 36 months/36,000 miles. Plus, they have a 100,000 miles/120 month Powertrain Warranty. At 50 mpg, you are saving money. It is true that Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and a few others make fuel efficient vehicles that sell at a cheaper price and require cheaper maintenance.

tjkj2002 wrote:
Find a mid '80's-'90's full size car(crown vic or caprice),spend a little fixing it up,heck dropping in a new engine and trans would run less then $1500,and have a trouble free vehicle that can go places and get 20's on the highway.Super cheap to maintain once it's in great condition and those 302's and 350's can run forever.


tjkj2002 has a point that hasn’t been discussed. Rather than buying a $24,000 dollar TDI, what if you purchased a used vehicle for a few thousand and drove it to death. You wouldn’t get the great fuel economy, but you wouldn’t have the overhead of a new car.

Rather than buying a used car, I’d opt for a used low mileage Jeep Cherokee.

$5,000 Jeep Cherokee, 4.0L, 20 mpg
$24,000 VW Jetta TDI, 50 mpg
Vehicle cost difference: $19,000

It all comes down to perspective. The TDI would yield $18,000 dollars in fuel savings over a course of 10 years, which would be the amount of time it would take to pay off the cost difference between a Jeep and VW. In some ways, buying a used Jeep (being debt free) seems like the better short term investment. On the other hand, in 10 years, the VW TDI would come close to paying for 2/3 of itself in fuel savings, and still have a lot of life in it with relatively low miles. One could argue that costly repairs of a used car would further negate any savings.

On my right shoulder, I have a little man whispering, “Buying a used vehicle carries some long-term risk taking, but offers low risk in the short-term. Being debt free always sounds like the better plan.”

On my left shoulder, I have a little man whispering, “A new VW will yield you fuel savings right off the bat. The fuel savings alone will eventually pay for the vehicle. You are protected by a warranty and many years of reliability.”

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:55 am 
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We own 3 vehicles, and I don't think maintaining them is really any more expensive. Tires, oil changes, and other maintenance lasts longer because you aren’t putting so many miles on one vehicle.

True but my problem is I modify everything. My VW is the only thing that I have spent $0 dollars on except fuel and insurance. Maintenance is covered by VW up to 30K.
Also I haven't had an insurance claim or ticket in years so my policy for one car, two 4x4s with added coverage for mods, and a scooter is not much more a year than a person that has a normal record with tickets and maybe a claim.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:41 pm 
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CIMARRON13 wrote:
True but my problem is I modify everything.


LOL, I understand. :mrgreen: I have several thousand into each one of my vehicles. :shock: Modifications are a choice, and a choice that I will always do. It all goes back to my philosophy about loving your vehicles. Although, I wouldn't put as many modifications on a commuter vehicle.

I’m not trying to save money because money is tight. I’m trying to save money where unnecessary spending isn’t needed. I build my Jeeps for multiple purposes, and commuting is not one of them. I’m really looking for that unique vehicle that will save on fuel, something I would enjoy driving/owning, and that I don’t mind putting a million miles on.

CIMARRON13 wrote:
My VW is the only thing that I have spent $0 dollars on except fuel and insurance. Maintenance is covered by VW up to 30K.


For this reason, you probably feel that you're long-term investment is saving you money? How many miles per year do you put on your VW?

CIMARRON13 wrote:
Also I haven't had an insurance claim or ticket in years so my policy for one car, two 4x4s with added coverage for mods, and a scooter is not much more a year than a person that has a normal record with tickets and maybe a claim.


Yep, that's how mine is too. We have super low insurance rates and pay every 6 months which also saves $$$$.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:46 pm 
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The best auto investment is a used vehicle 2 yrs old that you can afford to pay off in 3 yrs. MPG's do not apply to this formula.

A new German anything is a terrible investment.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:05 pm 
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JL Rockies wrote:
The best auto investment is a used vehicle 2 yrs old that you can afford to pay off in 3 yrs. MPG's do not apply to this formula.

A new German anything is a terrible investment.


Agree

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:44 pm 
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tommudd wrote:
JL Rockies wrote:
The best auto investment is a used vehicle 2 yrs old that you can afford to pay off in 3 yrs. MPG's do not apply to this formula.

A new German anything is a terrible investment.


Agree

3rd that.


I have yet to see one VW come into our shop without the check engine light on,even the brand new beetle that came in a few months ago with less then 50 miles on it had the check engine light on.

If you must own a VW after the 2 free oil changes(yep that's all you get) better invest in a good set of triple square sockets,you'll need them.Don't buy the cheap ones also,they just break and round the bolts out.


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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:36 am 
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dieselenthusiast wrote:
CIMARRON13 wrote:
True but my problem is I modify everything.


LOL, I understand. :mrgreen: I have several thousand into each one of my vehicles. :shock: Modifications are a choice, and a choice that I will always do. It all goes back to my philosophy about loving your vehicles. Although, I wouldn't put as many modifications on a commuter vehicle.

I’m not trying to save money because money is tight. I’m trying to save money where unnecessary spending isn’t needed. I build my Jeeps for multiple purposes, and commuting is not one of them. I’m really looking for that unique vehicle that will save on fuel, something I would enjoy driving/owning, and that I don’t mind putting a million miles on.

CIMARRON13 wrote:
My VW is the only thing that I have spent $0 dollars on except fuel and insurance. Maintenance is covered by VW up to 30K.


For this reason, you probably feel that you're long-term investment is saving you money? How many miles per year do you put on your VW?

CIMARRON13 wrote:
Also I haven't had an insurance claim or ticket in years so my policy for one car, two 4x4s with added coverage for mods, and a scooter is not much more a year than a person that has a normal record with tickets and maybe a claim.


Yep, that's how mine is too. We have super low insurance rates and pay every 6 months which also saves $$$$.


I put about 15K a year just on the VW, about 6K on my CRD, and another 1,500 on my Honda Ruckus scooter. Just got my Land Cruiser recently as another project vehicle. I do keep spreadsheets with all my costs and for me having the VW for a daily driver is a good deal for me. The scooter is nice as well for driving downtown for work on nice days and being able to park anywhere I want. 70 MPG is nice as well. Was getting 100MPG stock but I did some mods which reduced it.
I pay my insurance up front as well to keep my cost down.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:47 am 
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tjkj2002 wrote:
tommudd wrote:
JL Rockies wrote:
The best auto investment is a used vehicle 2 yrs old that you can afford to pay off in 3 yrs. MPG's do not apply to this formula.

A new German anything is a terrible investment.


Agree

3rd that.


I have yet to see one VW come into our shop without the check engine light on,even the brand new beetle that came in a few months ago with less then 50 miles on it had the check engine light on.

If you must own a VW after the 2 free oil changes(yep that's all you get) better invest in a good set of triple square sockets,you'll need them.Don't buy the cheap ones also,they just break and round the bolts out.


I have heard many faults with the VWs but havent had an issue yet. I put 26K on my 09 Jetta before I traded it for the 2010 Jetta wagon. Have 26K presently so that is 52K with no issues other than a broken seat adjuster. I am sure just like any vehicle there will be issues but I think bad maintenance routines with 90% of people give the certain makes bad raps.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:50 am 
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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:25 pm 
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CIMARRON13 wrote:
I have heard many faults with the VWs but havent had an issue yet. I put 26K on my 09 Jetta before I traded it for the 2010 Jetta wagon. Have 26K presently so that is 52K with no issues other than a broken seat adjuster. I am sure just like any vehicle there will be issues but I think bad maintenance routines with 90% of people give the certain makes bad raps.

Well you only have driven 2,I see at least 3-4 a day(I may personally not work on them).Work as a Tech and you see a major trend on how crappy some of these vehciles are.Yes many are neglected badly but in the big picture a bad vehicle to begin does not help if you take care of it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:43 am 
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JL Rockies wrote:
The best auto investment is a used vehicle 2 yrs old that you can afford to pay off in 3 yrs. MPG's do not apply to this formula.


Historically speaking, I think that may have been true. But with current economic trends, I would think buying new would be the better value. There are so many factors involved that I think either one of us could build a pretty good argument.

Good credit = lots of purchasing power. Buying new offers many advantages. In today’s economy, you can buy a new car that’s well below MSRP and lock in 0% interest with a full warranty. In some cases, you may even get an extended warranty, lifetime maintenance, etc. I’m sure there will always be instances out there in which buying a low mileage, used “two year” old vehicle is the better value. It’s all very subjective. What I call a good value might be completely different than what you call a good value.

I would like to see a break down of your formula.

JL Rockies wrote:
A new German anything is a terrible investment.


That’s subjective.

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 Post subject: Re: My ramblings (fuel efficient vehicle really worth it?)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:48 am 
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CIMARRON13 wrote:
I put about 15K a year just on the VW


That's probably a nice fuel savings.

CIMARRON13 wrote:
I do keep spreadsheets with all my costs and for me having the VW for a daily driver is a good deal for me.


Do you average at least 40 mpg?

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