At the risk of getting chewed out…

… by my European readers I’m going to go ahead and whine a little bit about today being the first time I’ve ever paid over $3.00 for a gallon of gas. Filled up the tank this morning at the local CostCo, which has a discount on gas, and it was still $3.04 a gallon making for a $39.00 fill up. If I don’t end up moving back to Canton in August like we’d been hoping to then I’m going to have to give some very serious consideration to getting a more fuel efficient vehicle sooner rather than later. Which is a bigger challenge than it sounds as my car doesn’t get bad mileage when doing a lot of highway driving (28 MPG Highway/18 MPG City), which I tend to do.

Still, it could be better. I think I’d like to pick up a new Honda Civic which is rated at 30 city/40 highway for the automatic transmission non-hybrid sedan. The hybrid reportedly gets 49 city/51 highway, but is an additional $7,300 higher in price from the base cost for the non-hybrid. Even if I bumped up to the EX version of the standard sedan the price difference would still be nearly $4,000.

Right now I don’t think a new car is doable unless I manage to go full time with a pay raise soon, but it’s something I’m not going to be able to put off indefinitely especially if gas prices keep climbing. Even if I were to trade in my Grand Prix the payments would be a hefty chunk of my monthly paycheck. Hmmm. I need to come up with a stupidly clever means of earning money and fame. Or at least money.

13 thoughts on “At the risk of getting chewed out…

  1. Wah, wah, wah.

    Try $1.13 a litre ($4.28 a gallon). Even converted to USD, that’s $3.81 a gallon.

    And that’s in Alberta. You know, as in: The-largest-politically-secure-oil-deposit-in-the-world-Alberta.

    I’m looking at Honda Civic as well. I’m skipping the hybrids at the moment. I do mostly a highway commute, and hybrids get their best numbers in city (stop and go).

  2. the first time I’ve ever paid over $3.00 for a gallon of gas.

    *snort* *giggle*

    Oh, I’m sorry. Welcome to our world about 5 years ago!

  3. It’s still one of the cheapest liquids you can buy.  Cost is about the same as milk.  The price is kept artificially low by government subsidies in the form of corporate tax cuts and trade agreements.  The price *should* be up around $10 a gallon.  That way the people who actually make an effort to conserve gas will benefit.  Even if you buy that Honda Insight (I have one) you are still effectively paying high prices through higher federal taxes.

    -b

  4. In Oz it’s currently the equivalent of $US4.06 per US galon.
    My little 3 cylinder/989cc (40 litre tank) Daihatsu Sirion is still a cheap mode of transport. smile

  5. You’ll never save money by buying a new car to get better mileage.  It’s just not mathematically possible.

    Even driving 20,000 miles per year and buying gass for three bucks a gallon, your fuel savings would be less than $1,200 annually.  That’s assuming you go from 24 MPG to 45 MPG.

    $1,200 per year won’t even pay the loan interest on a $22,000 Hybrid Civic, and the bank will probably want you to pay off the principal as well.  smile

    If you finance $20,000 at 7.5% interest, your monthly payment would be about $400.  That would fill up your Pontiac’s gas tank every three days for the entire year, and we aren’t even counting the money you’re already spending on gas.

    If you want to save the planet and your wallet, drive your Grand Prix until it’s costing you at least $1,500 a year to repair.  Building a brand new hybrid car will cause way more pollution than driving a car which has already been built.  Driving a big SUV you bought five years ago is better for the environment than buying a brand new Honda Civic.

    That’s what I plan to do with my car, anyway.  I’m hoping to get at least 15 years and 200,000 miles out of it.  Those number are completely arbitrary, of course, but it’s just something to shoot for.

    Oh, and while I’m giving auto-buying advice, here’s a freebie: Don’t buy a GPS navigation system or DVD player from the factory.  Car companies will not hesitate to charge you $1,500 for a rear-seat DVD player you could buy elsewhere for $200-$300 plus maybe another $100 for installation.  To Honda or GM, selling a DVD player or navigation system is like printing a $1,000 bill.

  6. Les,
    Try going with a diesel and a corn oil conversion kit. The new vehicle might be pricey and the conversion kit isn’t cheap, but once installed you can easily get almost 70mpg or more. Seriously, look into it.

  7. Uh, Les, to add my scepticism to it: why would you buy a NEW car anyway (if I understand that right)? I don’t get it.

    Cars lose a lot of their price within the first year. Maybe up to 1/3-1/2 in some cases. But that car still has 90% or more of its useful life at that stage. I have never understood buying a new car. Why not buy a sound used one?

  8. Agreed. I had a 87 Subaru hatchback that actually got the 30/40 mpg that the new Honda civic claims to get. And I only paid $650 for it.  cheese

  9. That’s a lovely explanation, Daryl, except I never said I was planning on buying the Hybrid Civic. If anything I was considering the much lower cost Civic LX. Gas mileage also isn’t the only consideration, my Grand Prix is not in the greatest condition and I’d rather not get to the point that it’s breaking down regularly.

    Ingolfson, The first 6 cars I owned were used and in each case I ended up paying twice what I bought them for within the first year in repairs and most of them didn’t last for more than a couple of years. I’m not a car guy and I don’t enjoy working on my vehicle. I buy new because I appreciate having something that I don’t have to worry about repairing every other week for a few years. Some people can manage with used cars just fine, but I’m not one of those people.

  10. Though I’ve known plenty of examples of reliable used cars, Les has a point.  When my first new car had a problem, it sure was nice to have that warranty to fall back on, though the tradeoff on that was buying a first year engine that had teething problems which required recalls.

    Another consideration if Les is considering a Civic is that it has very strong residual values; compared to other cars with lower reputations (and survey results) for reliability, buying used is less of a bargain.

  11. I should point out that I’m not saying that there aren’t any reliable used cars out there, but only that I’ve not had great luck with them. The peace of mind I gain from buying new is worth it to me.

  12. Plus the fact that a car in Michigan is half rusted out underneath within 5 winters.
    I can definitely see your point.

  13. Les, to get a good used car you’ve gotta kick the tires. This will tell you if it’s in decent shape to begin with.

    Cars can’t talk to tell you their histories so you’ve got to be smarter than the seller. Kicking the tires tells them you’re a savvy buyer.

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