Monday, June 9, 2008

Paying at the Pump

While driving to Chico this past weekend, I got an idea for my next blog topic, GAS PRICES. More importantly, the real impact they have on our pocketbooks. In order to analyze and compare various vehicles and their associated fuel costs, I did what I have been doing in school for the past four-eight years, I made a bunch of assumptions. I actually did not make that many, but they are listed below:
  • Average round trip commute of 40 miles
  • Average miles per gallon (mpg) for each vehicle came from
  • Annual mileage based on 15,000 miles per year.
  • I used $4.40 for the cost of a gallon of gas. This is less than what I pay in Humboldt but about what you pay in the Bay Area.
These assumptions aren't that bad really. If your commute is not actually 20 miles each way, then remember that you will probably be sitting in traffic or stoplights. I picked all of the cars that I know people around me drive and then some cars that could be driven without sacrificing too much in the way of room or all season performance. For example there is the Subaru Outback and Honda CRV which are both All Wheel Drive and can fit 5 adults and gear. This first figure shows the daily commute cost for each car.

It's pretty amazing how much is spent per day just on fuel for driving. This does not include insurance, maitnence, or the car itself. It costs a little over $12 to drive the Landruiser per day. Pretty amazing. In contrast, the Honda Civic costs about $5 a day. The next figure shows annual cost for fuel based on 15,000 miles per year.

This figure really puts into perspective what we pay for fuel. My Tacoma costs about $3,500 in gas each year, whereas the Outback costs about $2500 a year. That is a savings of $1000 a year. That is pretty significant considering I made $12, 000 last year in income. If someone were to trade their SUV for a commuter car like a Civic, the savings are even larger, $2,100 a year.

I hope this helps other people analyze their fuel costs a little better. This was a strict economic analysis of gas prices. I have not mentioned the environmental impact of each car and I won't get into that here. You can safely assume that more gas burned would equate to more emissions. I rode my bike to work today and saved about $9. That's enough for a six pack of the good stuff. Let me know if there are other vehicles you would like me to add, or if you would like me to change some of my assumed values.

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