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Cost to operate your car
Old 05-11-2019, 08:03 AM   #1
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Cost to operate your car

Just had the annual repair, inspection and tax payment on our 3 vehicles - a 2011 Toyota Rav4 SUV, a 2003 Subaru Legacy sedan and a 2002 2 seater, faster than hades, beauty. Total mileage on them is 340,000. DW and I drive about 15,000 miles a year, with most being on her SUV. The BMW is taken out for exercise about 2k a year. My around town sedan sees about 3k a year.

Anyhow, operating costs for the last few years are:
  • 13 cents a mile for gas which is around 20 MPG. Most is around town, so I am OK with that.
  • 5 cents a mile for insurance. 2 cars are liability only. The SUV has comp and collision.
  • 13 cents for service (7 cents for SUV, 18 cents for sedan, 31 cents for BMW)
  • 1.5 for registration and tax

Computing depreciation per mile? Based on a depreciation per mile, not per year, the SUV is about 11 cents, the sedan 18 cents and the BMW 60 cents. Averaging them based on miles driven, I am at 19 cents per mile.

Total 51.5 cents per mile. I saw something that talked about average being 60 to 70 cents per mile. How about you?
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:30 AM   #2
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Way to much work to compute for this retiree!
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:34 AM   #3
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Way to much work to computer for this retiree!
Well said.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:55 AM   #4
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Well said.
Who cares is a valid come back. I just have too much time on my hands, this AM.

And I need to validate my feelings for not buying a new car.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:16 AM   #5
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In euros per km, roughly 0.31:

Depreciation: 0.12
Gas: 0.10
Insurance: 0.03
Service: 0.03
Tires: 0.02
Tax: 0.01

So per mile I would end up at 56 dollarcents. That's for a two year old Volkswagen Polo driving 30k+ km per year in the Netherlands.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:16 AM   #6
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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe (91,000 miles) - bought new
1998 Ford F150 (48,000 original miles)
2002 BMW 325 CI, convertible, 5 speed manual transmission (112,000) miles

All repairs and maintenance by yours truly.

Cost to operate per mile? It would take me a while and a lot of digging to figure that up and I can't even guess, but it's not out of the expected norm for those vehicles. In my ownership, not any of them have seen a dealer or third party repair facility.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:48 AM   #7
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2005 Murano, 14 years and 160,000 miles, lifetime costs

$30,000 Original purchase price
$22,000 Gasoline
$_9,000 Everything else mechanical - oil, tires, batteries, repairs
---------
$61,000

Per Mile
0.19 Original purchase
0.14 Gasoline
0.06 Everything else mechanical
-----
0.38

Recent insurance has been $325/yr and plates are $51/yr, for about 0.025/mile.

I'm sure the car has gotten cheaper as it has aged, since annual depreciation costs have gone down much faster than annual repair costs have gone up.

I think about replacing it, but I really like my low current cost of ownership.

-----

My wife drives a 2001 Echo. She puts about $60 of gasoline in it per year. Her biggest expense is probably insurance at $220/year. I assume annual depreciation at this point is even lower than the insurance.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:10 PM   #8
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Here is my way to do it.
A month
Insurance $36
Taxes and License $3
Gas $60
Maintenance $7

Total $106
Yearly $1272
That is as long as it does not break down.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:47 PM   #9
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Way to much work to compute for this retiree!
Same here.
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Old 05-11-2019, 01:06 PM   #10
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Driving a toyota product out the door cost was 19,000 new , plan to keep to 200k miles. avg 20,000 mi /yr at 26 mpg.

Fuel .14 mi

insurance .10 mi

depreciation about .08 mi, w residual value $ 2500

With electric here and now base 15 cents a kw and upper tiers at 35 cents a kw, I am going to skip electric cars for now.

Maint , repair and tags, maybe .05 per mile.

Second vehicle I describe as a gasoline powered Mule.

Fully depreciated if you know what I mean. 12 mpg. pulls / hauls just about anything.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:24 PM   #11
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Way to much work to compute for this retiree!
i agree. i track gas and mileage cuz, well, cuz i always have. call it a character flaw. i don't do much with the data other than look for drastic reductions that might indicate problems. i also log maintenance and repairs, although not thosr costs. i do that so i can hand it to the next owner so he'll have a complete maintenance log. beyond that i don't give two hoots and a holler about our operating costs.
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:23 AM   #12
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i agree. i track gas and mileage cuz, well, cuz i always have. call it a character flaw. i don't do much with the data other than look for drastic reductions that might indicate problems. i also log maintenance and repairs, although not thosr costs. i do that so i can hand it to the next owner so he'll have a complete maintenance log. beyond that i don't give two hoots and a holler about our operating costs.
+1 even though I track all our expenses, but don't get into depreciation and costs per mile type of analysis.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:26 AM   #13
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Way to much work to compute for this retiree!
+1
Since we need cars to get around and since we plan our driving to add stops on our way home from the primary reason for using the cars then going through the effort of documenting the cost gets us nowhere but spending time we could be enjoying ourselves in retirement.


Cheers!
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:56 AM   #14
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I keep track of the vehicle cost, but not the gas or insurance. I can’t control gas cost much and (don’t shoot me), we’ve been with AAA for about 40 years now and combine with home insurance so not much to control there either.

When I leased, if I could get my payment under $600/mo, I was happy. $600/mo times 12 divided by 25K miles is just under .30 per mile. So if gas was under .20 per mile and insurance was under .10 per mile, I was probably running under .60 per mile to drive a new car every two years. There was never any maint. cost because Buick’s had a 50K bumper to bumper warranty and nothing wore out (brakes, tires . . .) in 50K mikes.

Now I own my vehicles but they’re both still under warranty and I’m not driving much. So my guess is the my cost per mile has actually increased.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:18 AM   #15
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Ours cars are like cattle. Had three noses last night - still have three noses this morning. All is well.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:42 AM   #16
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I have been sticking to cars recently that are lower depreciating and very durable (trouble free). I'm talking Honda Civics and a Lexus IS250. I also keep a 16 year old F250 diesel that is relatively low mileage and scheduled to wear out when I'm 93 years old.

Our Honda was totaled out last Fall and not replaced. Most miles these days are in a 2018 Camry Hybrid that gets 48.5 mpg on average.

I don't keep cost numbers on our cars, but know my dollar's going as far as it can. Transportation's just expensive. I'm sticking with cars that cause minimal troubles and those that are moderately priced. I'm through with luxury brands that eat $200 tires every 20K miles.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:55 AM   #17
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It is a pointless exercise for us. Our mileage has decreased significantly since retirement. Our costs are no doubt well above the average.

The one cost that has decreased is probably depreciation. Just made a decision to keep our 2006 Accord because we drive it so little. We are away in the winter and often use our summer car in warm weather.

It is one of those costs that is what it is. Knowing the exact cost would not impact our spending in any way.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:03 AM   #18
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Doesn't make sense to measure things like insurance and taxes as a cost per mile. OP's service cost differences between the cars shows that this almost certainly isn't that closely related to cost per mile either.
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Old 05-12-2019, 11:25 AM   #19
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Doesn't make sense to measure things like insurance and taxes as a cost per mile.
If your annual mileage is fairly consistent from year to year, it's reasonable, but only as a point of personal interest. I agree that it's meaningless to compare with other people.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:16 PM   #20
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Doesn't make sense to measure things like insurance and taxes as a cost per mile. OP's service cost differences between the cars shows that this almost certainly isn't that closely related to cost per mile either.
I would agree, and I don't think knowing the cost/mile of owning and operating my cars would be all that useful to me. Instead, I just look at the annual costs and account for that in my FIRE budget spreadsheet. So far, I'm pretty content with the annual costs (roughly $2,400) and don't feel much of a need to scrutinize it more carefully. For me, having a nice car (or two) to use whenever and however I want is a luxury for which I'm willing to pay somewhat of a premium.
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