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Gas Prices-driving/buying habits?
Old 06-19-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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Gas Prices-driving/buying habits?

An open question.
Gas prices have been uncertain for the past 10+ years, with every new scare changing prices, often on a daily basis.

With the average household vehicle travel per year at about 12,500 miles...
If the average MPG is 25, and the average cost of gas is $3.70/gal., that gives an annual fuel cost of $1850. Should the cost go to $5.00/gal. it would mean an increase of $650.

Do gas prices affect your driving habits?
.................................................. .........................
Perhaps just as important... Have you calculated the actual fuel $$$ savings that you have gotten or would get from changing to a more fuel efficient car? Are the long term savings enough to guide the decision?
.................................................. ........................

In our case, with two old cars... 98 Lincoln Town Car and a 96 Cadillac SLS... and considering that our annual mileage is now very low (6000 to 8000 miles/yr.) it doesn't make sense to buy new. Our current MPG for both cars averages 21. Even if gas prices should triple or quadruple, we couldn't justify
25K to 30K for a new car.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:02 AM   #2
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Hasn't changed my driving habits so far, but did make me, when I need another car, buy a smaller one with twice the gas mileage.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Do gas prices affect your driving habits?
.................................................. .........................
Perhaps just as important... Have you calculated the actual fuel $$$ savings that you have gotten or would get from changing to a more fuel efficient car? Are the long term savings enough to guide the decision?
.................................................. ........................

In our case, with two old cars... 98 Lincoln Town Car and a 96 Cadillac SLS... and considering that our annual mileage is now very low (6000 to 8000 miles/yr.) it doesn't make sense to buy new. Our current MPG for both cars averages 21. Even if gas prices should triple or quadruple, we couldn't justify
25K to 30K for a new car.
No change for me. What changed is I don't do as many miles as when commuting for work. I only spend about $30/month for gas now. I calculated it would a very long time to get any payback from buying a fuel efficient new car. If I was still commuting it might be worth it.

There is a fuel savings calculator to play with here

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/savemoney.shtml
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:12 AM   #4
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I get no better than 20 mpg and have to use premium at a current price of $4.08/gal. I've spent some time over the last couple months testing some cars with better gas mileage. At 6'6", I haven't found a vehicle with good gas mileage that I can fit into. There's never room for my right knee because of the center console. I don't drive much except when i'm driving to a job(private contractor) and then it's tax deductible so it's not that big of a deal I guess.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:28 AM   #5
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Since I er'd, my total miles driven per year has been approximately halved. Since my "hot dog" days, I have tried to drive relatively conservatively to save fuel - perhaps even more so now that I'm paying $3.75 on the mainland and $4.40 in HI. I always get better mileage than DW (mostly because I "coast" instead of accelerate up to the stop lights.)

When it comes to buying a car, the overall cost (especially the purchase price) continues to be the most important issue (fuel mileage second). Example: my most recent car was an old Buick for about $5K. In town mileage is probably 20, but road miles (mainland) exceeds 30. A good deal all around. Even without decent mileage, paying $5k vs $25K pays for a lot of gas and, admittedly, higher repair costs (tires and struts in the past two years).

I love the technology of the hybrids and am still excited to see what is to come as fuel prices continue to rise. The "easy" improvements have been made, but I think there are some "break throughs" (expensive) to come. Examples: Aluminum in place of most steel as well as carbon fiber or other "exotic" materials to lower weight. Waste heat recapture (such as turbo generation of electricity, etc.). Eventually, interactive traffic management (your can knows when the next light will change and adjusts it's speed and fuel burn accordingly.)

However, I can't see spending the extra money to cover the 12K miles (over all 3 cars) I travel now. Maybe at $10/gallon, but not at $5. YMMV (heh, heh.)
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:40 AM   #6
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Not at all. By the way there is a proposal afoot to raise the federal gas tax 12 cents per gal on both gas and diesel.

Happy trails.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:43 AM   #7
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I do most of my driving in a 2012 Ram Hemi, that's rated 14/20, but has averaged about 14.8 since I've had it...mostly local, short trip driving. It really will break 20 on the highway, even driven, um, spiritedly. I guess it's a hybrid in the sense that it burns gas and rubber!

Anyway, I'm probably only putting about 7,000 miles per year on it. At 14.8 mpg average, that's 473 gallons per year. If gas went up by $1.30 per gallon, that's an additional $615 per year. Or $51 per month. Not enough for me to get bent out of shape about.

If I was thrust into a position where I suddenly had to drive, oh, say 35000 miles a year, I might look into something more economical. My only problem is, I don't like small cars, so for me it would most likely be something like a Charger or an Impala. I think they're rated around 19/30, which is an improvement, but it would still probably take a long time to break even.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:57 AM   #8
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Definitely influenced the cars we own, two hybrids. When gasoline prices spiked in 2005, we were convinced prices would only get higher. That was before shale/fracking relieved some of the pressure. But we still believe it'll happen regardless of what the US does thanks to developing countries. And folks will clamor for higher mpg vehicles, just a matter of when - though clearly later than we expected. If we're wrong, good for everyone?
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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No. Money is no object but I hardly drive at all so doubling or tripling of a very small expense is still peanuts.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:27 AM   #10
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My driving habit remain the same. But, my car is hybrid which gets about 50% better mileage than the very similar car it replaced. 26 mpg versus 38 mpg.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:30 AM   #11
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Replace my aging pickup (15/20) with a Prius (50+). I'm not a high-mileage driver, but when I'm fully FIREd I expect to do some more road tripping, so it will come in handy then.

For the hybrid premium, I don't save that much, but like Midpack, I think prices will rise in the long-term, plus I'm doing my admittedly small part in reducing both localized and global pollution.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:34 AM   #12
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In 2013, I spent $965.24 on gasoline. In retirement I don't need to drive much, and I could cut back on driving quite a bit if I wanted to since most of my driving is just pleasure drives.

If my back-of-the-envelope computations are correct, then an increase of one cent per gallon in gas price would have resulted in spending $967.83 on gas in 2013, and my gas expenditures would have been a staggering $2.89 higher (for the whole year).

If gas went up to $5/gallon, it looks like the increase would become a whole $367.03/year or $30.59/month. I just dropped cable TV for a monthly savings of $110/month, so honestly I don't think that even this huge and improbable sudden increase in gas prices would affect my lifestyle at all. I don't even stay awake worrying about the inflation caused indirectly by possibly increased gas prices.

So no, I'm not especially worried about gas prices. Insurance prices are a much bigger cost to me than gas right now, since New Orleans has some of the highest car insurance prices in the country.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:37 AM   #13
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It's an LBYM and safety thing for me - I have always tried to limit my miles driven, and they are even less no with retirement and not driving kids around. So no change with gas prices, I basically only do the driving I need to, so little to change (little 'discretionary' driving to use economic terms).

Since we now drive less than 6,000 miles annually per vehicle (one each for me & DW), I don't think a hybrid pencils out for us. Our vehicles get decent mileage, even with our short trips - 22-26 mpg.

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Old 06-19-2014, 11:41 AM   #14
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Replace my aging pickup (15/20) with a Prius (50+). I'm not a high-mileage driver, but when I'm fully FIREd I expect to do some more road tripping, so it will come in handy then.

For the hybrid premium, I don't save that much, but like Midpack, I think prices will rise in the long-term, plus I'm doing my admittedly small part in reducing both localized and global pollution.
I tested a Prius and the leg room was actually decent. The problem was the horrible rear visibility. Doesn't that bother you? There's no way i'd drive that on the highway. The blind spot is huge!
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:42 AM   #15
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Grew up during the 1970's gas crises, and had started driving by the end of that decade, so I've always been conscious of how I drive (plan ahead - accelerate and brake gently - keep to a reasonable speed - keep tires well inflated, etc.) Also, have always owned smaller, more fuel-efficient cars; but have never bought a hybrid, since we don't drive enough, in most years, to really make it pay.

Where I live, traffic has become extremely congested and aggressive since the early 2000's. The main road near our house is speed-zoned 55, but the generally observed speed is closer to 75. I sure hope none of those drivers are moaning about gas prices. With their aggressive, thoughtless driving habits, they have no business doing so.

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Old 06-19-2014, 11:46 AM   #16
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I tested a Prius and the leg room was actually decent. The problem was the horrible rear visibility. Doesn't that bother you? There's no way i'd drive that on the highway. The blind spot is huge!
The only time the admittedly poor rear visibility bothers me is when I'm backing out of a parking space. I usually give a person backing some leeway, because they are at a disadvantage, but apparently I'm in the minority on that one...

On the road it's not much of an issue.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:48 AM   #17
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Since we now drive less than 6,000 miles annually per vehicle (one each for me & DW), I don't think a hybrid pencils out for us.
At 6,000 miles a year you are already doing a huge amount to not consume oil and produce waste products. And to be fair, we must also include the resources not being used to build a replacement car, replacement tires, etc. A true environmental win all around.

As you can see from my figures below, the payback for you would be easily over 10 years. Not so good.

FWIW, after owning a hybrid for over a year, I have lowered my breakeven mileage to 60,000 miles from my initial estimate of 75,000 miles. I am getting better mpg that I figured so I should pay for the additional cost of the hybrid system sooner. These numbers are for gas at $3.50 a gallon.

Of course, if gasoline starts to soar or falls back to what I paid as a teenager, then all bets are off.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:52 AM   #18
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Where I live, traffic has become extremely congested and aggressive since the early 2000's. The main road near our house is speed-zoned 55, but the generally observed speed is closer to 75. I sure hope none of those drivers are moaning about gas prices. With their aggressive, thoughtless driving habits, they have no business doing so.

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I usually just try to stay the hell out of their way...
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:27 PM   #19
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buy a smaller one with twice the gas mileage.
I bought a larger car that got twice the fuel mileage

Seriously, since I have all this newfound free time I'm taking some serious road trips and I wanted to get a comfortable car that got excellent mileage so as to remove that as a reason to not take a trip.

Since getting the new car I've driven from Ohio to California and down to Florida a couple of times. Averaging over 40 mpg on each trip.

I've got more planned...
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:29 PM   #20
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I bought a larger car that got twice the fuel mileage

Seriously, since I have all this newfound free time I'm taking some serious road trips and I wanted to get a comfortable car that got excellent mileage so as to remove that as a reason to not take a trip.

Since getting the new car I've driven from Ohio to California and down to Florida a couple of times. Averaging over 40 mpg on each trip.

I've got more planned...
Are you willing to share the make and model?
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