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JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

Making the numbers work on a new(ish) vehicle

My fiance drives a 2005 Chevy Classic (Malibu Classic) as her daily driver to/from work. We live in Lanett, Alabama and work is in Columbus, GA. It's about an 80-85 mile round trip drive that she does 5 days a week. The roads are technically mostly highway or highway level speeds (GA 103 from I85 to I185 then I185 down into Columbus).

On average she gets 28 MPG (the best I have ever seen the car get was 30 MPG with about 26 being the worst) and it's one of the best we have in terms of fuel economy. Based on that quick math, she is burning 14-15 gallons of fuel in a 5 day period. She can get 3 round trips to 1/4 tank (from full down to 1/4) which means she fills up basically twice a week.

Because it's such a long drive (yes moving would ultimately be better and is the end solution, it just isn't in the cards right now), we are toying with the idea of getting something more fuel efficient. There are some vehicles she likes and they do get better mileage (usually 40+) but I just don't know what to attempt to calculate to see if the numbers will work because I'm sure I need to factor in more than just fuel.

Right now we are still paying on the car, $300 a month and it will be paid off at the end of the year (maybe one small payment in 2015). Nothing would happen until it's paid off AND tax refunds in 2015 hit so this is still many months away before it happens (if it happens). On one hand, being one less car payment each month would be nice but I worry about what happens if this car starts needing more (or more costly) repairs. On the other hand, that $300 a month could go towards a savings account or something for maintenance and repairs too.


beck
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-29
On The Road
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Stablehost.com
IMHO, keep the car and put money into savings account. 10-12mpg isn't enough to me to buy a new car. Have a friend that has 2005 Malibu and they have just under 300K on it without any major problems. Just did regular stuff over the years. They bought a new car to replace their other car and still are keeping the Malibu. Maybe take it into a shop to evaluate it.
--
Are YOU just a turkey voting for xmas?


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to JoelC707
said by JoelC707:

My fiance drives a 2005 Chevy Classic (Malibu Classic) as her daily driver to/from work. We live in Lanett, Alabama and work is in Columbus, GA. It's about an 80-85 mile round trip drive that she does 5 days a week. The roads are technically mostly highway or highway level speeds (GA 103 from I85 to I185 then I185 down into Columbus).

On average she gets 28 MPG (the best I have ever seen the car get was 30 MPG with about 26 being the worst) and it's one of the best we have in terms of fuel economy. Based on that quick math, she is burning 14-15 gallons of fuel in a 5 day period. She can get 3 round trips to 1/4 tank (from full down to 1/4) which means she fills up basically twice a week.

Because it's such a long drive (yes moving would ultimately be better and is the end solution, it just isn't in the cards right now), we are toying with the idea of getting something more fuel efficient. There are some vehicles she likes and they do get better mileage (usually 40+) but I just don't know what to attempt to calculate to see if the numbers will work because I'm sure I need to factor in more than just fuel.

Right now we are still paying on the car, $300 a month and it will be paid off at the end of the year (maybe one small payment in 2015). Nothing would happen until it's paid off AND tax refunds in 2015 hit so this is still many months away before it happens (if it happens). On one hand, being one less car payment each month would be nice but I worry about what happens if this car starts needing more (or more costly) repairs. On the other hand, that $300 a month could go towards a savings account or something for maintenance and repairs too.

that is terrible mileage for a 4 cylinder.
I gotten 725 miles @ 37.7MPG with a 6 cylinder. this was pure highway. Not drafting behind a 18 wheeler.

maybe learn the hyper miler way of life. this means change driving habits

cruse control helps a lot as well since the car take sips of gas since the computer is better able to control the gas pedal

it would have been slightly higher but LA traffic sucked I est about 42MPG if traffic would have been better.

but weather conditions were very favorable. I had a tail wind the whole trip as I got lucky.
--
Live Free or Die Hard...


neonhomer
KK4BFN
Premium
join:2004-01-27
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
said by Anonymous_:

that is terrible mileage for a 4 cylinder.

I drive a 2008 Nissan Versa hatchback with the 1.8 4cyl, and the best I've ever seen out of this car was 28MPG... and that was driving 65MPH with the cruise on during my daily 225 mile round trip commute....

To the OP: I would say if the car is not exhibiting any issues, then when you pay the car off, take that money and start putting it into a savings account. If the car has a catastrophic failure, you would have some cash to either use as a down payment, or to repair the car. (This assumes that the car doesn't fail after you pay it off.)

Try some of the tricks used to increase mileage... Synthetic fluids, removing excess weight from the car (un-needed items), keeping proper tire inflation, keeping up with tune ups, etc etc...
--
"Oh me, oh my. A lovely day is dawning. Oh what a joy I didn't wake up dead. So I can go to [work] and then resume my yawning, and get my sleep [on site] instead of in my bed."

Outpost Daria Reborn

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to beck
said by beck:

IMHO, keep the car and put money into savings account. 10-12mpg isn't enough to me to buy a new car. Have a friend that has 2005 Malibu and they have just under 300K on it without any major problems. Just did regular stuff over the years. They bought a new car to replace their other car and still are keeping the Malibu. Maybe take it into a shop to evaluate it.

That's what I think I'm currently leaning towards but I wanted to see if anyone else had other opinions. We can afford the car payments but having the extra 300 free each month certainly wouldn't be bad either lol.

I'm mechanically inclined and have car knowledge so I don't think I need to take it to a shop. I can already tell you, the car runs very well, has plenty of power and gets regular oil changes and just recently got a tuneup (well plug change, not much else you can do to a coil-on-plug system). It has 126K on the clock IIRC.

There are some occasional hiccups with it: sometimes when I crank the car, the guages won't work and the AC doesn't run (don't know what else might be "out" at this time but simply restarting the car always fixes it; and occasionally while under cruise I'm told it will stutter and such (I've never had it happen to me but she takes it off cruise and it drives just fine).


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

1 edit
reply to Anonymous_
The car she is driving is not designed to get major MPG - EDIT: D'oh - got 2003 instead of 2005 specs. Making a bet it is an automatic means - she is not going to get much better than she is now. With a manual and changing driving habits a bit - might be able to get a couple more mpg.

To the OP - I have a 45 mile one way drive everyday - so 90-100 miles per day. I get 29-30 (or just a tad bit higher than 30 mpg) mpg. I would love to get more but unless I can pay cash - I don't think it is worth it.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to Anonymous_
said by Anonymous_:

that is terrible mileage for a 4 cylinder.
I gotten 725 miles @ 37.7MPG with a 6 cylinder. this was pure highway. Not drafting behind a 18 wheeler.

What year/make/model? Generally newer cars get better mileage and I've seen Honda cars get that kind of mileage or better at 2005 or older but never seen most others (domestic or import) get that kind of mileage at that year.

Drafting is easy money though (and I know you said you didn't draft). It normally takes 1/4 tank to go from Lanett to my grandparents house in Stone Mountain. I drafted behind my dad towing a 32' enclosed trailer one trip up there. I only used 1/8 tank. Not hard numbers of course but I used basically half the fuel which means my mileage should have been basically double.

FWIW, EPA estimates for the car put it at 22 city, 31 hwy, 25 combined. Fuelly estimates put it at 26.9 MPG average. And here are my specific entries for the vehicle: »www.fuelly.com/car/chevrolet/cla···7/253825 which put it at 27.8 average. I haven't been keeping up with it like I wanted to but it does give several real world data points for the car.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to CylonRed
said by CylonRed:

Making a bet it is an automatic means - she is not going to get much better than she is now. With a manual and changing driving habits a bit - might be able to get a couple more mpg.

Correct, it is automatic, was the only option for the car in that year IIRC. She can drive a manual better than I can but in most cases I usually don't see a manual making a major difference, maybe a couple MPG like you said.

said by CylonRed:

To the OP - I have a 45 mile one way drive everyday - so 90-100 miles per day. I get 29-30 (or just a tad bit higher than 30 mpg) mpg. I would love to get more but unless I can pay cash - I don't think it is worth it.

Thanks! Since this would wait until tax time and would coincide with the sale/trade of this car, chances are we COULD pay cash for something depending on several factors of course. At worst, I'm sure we can put a sizeable chunk down on a new car. I figure she will get about 5K back in taxes, possibly more since we have another dependent to claim this year and the baseline for a running car these days seems to be 5K as well. That's 10K or more that could go towards a car.

Most of the cars she is looking at are about 20K new (she really doesn't want to go higher than that) so putting down half of it up front or finding one a year or two old and just paying cash will be great either way. I think that is the only way this will really work. We sell the car around tax time and go pay cash for something outright. We still have no car payment and can get better mileage to boot.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to neonhomer
said by neonhomer:

Try some of the tricks used to increase mileage... Synthetic fluids, removing excess weight from the car (un-needed items), keeping proper tire inflation, keeping up with tune ups, etc etc...

This last oil change I swapped to synthetic but I haven't been calculating mileage so I don't know if it helped. The trans fluid is a funky beast on this car, there's no dip stick, its an overflow port so I've mostly left that alone for now. I don't expect synthetics to add more than 1-2 mpg. Tires stay properly inflated, the rears are new and the front needs to be changed (and an alignment, they aren't wearing evenly). Excess weight is one thing I know will affect mileage quickly. Several people in the car plus several large suitcases and such makes for a heavy car and a major difference in mileage.

Currently nothing is in the trunk except for the spare tire and nothing is in the back seat except a coat or something light. Normally there's a set of jumper cables and a first aid kit but the jumper cables are loaned out to someone and the first aid kit is still in my truck and we only have one at the moment (we had two but they were getting a little thin so we combined them and just haven't bought another). Even then, those items don't weigh much.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
28 mpg is pretty dam good for a average in a 2005. I doubt you will warrant purchasing a new car on fuel savings alone.

what the

join:2014-06-28
usa
reply to JoelC707
I don't know what to tell you to do (most likely would be wrong thing anyways) but what is it you want to really do?
Spend a extra bucks a week on gas versus spending thousands of dollars for a new car.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
said by what the:

I don't know what to tell you to do (most likely would be wrong thing anyways) but what is it you want to really do?

Mainly I was wanting someone to talk me into (or out of) getting a new(er) vehicle once this one is paid off. I know that no car payment plus gas is going to be WAY less than a car payment plus cheaper gas but I also know gas isn't the only thing to figure into the equation. That's really what the "making the numbers work" was about, trying to find out what else to factor into the equation.

Right now I'm leaning towards one of two outcomes. Keep the existing car with no car payment, bank the $300 car payment amount or use it to accelerate paying off something else (such as my truck payment or something like that). Or come tax time with a large refund in hand, explore the possibility of selling/trading the car and paying cash for a new(er) car and still not have a car payment (or a very small one because I would have put down such a large chunk on the down payment).


numbersho

@69.118.94.x
So you are doing 85 miles 5 days a week, getting 28mpg.

425 miles a week... @ 28mpg = 15.179 gallons @ $3.50 a gal = $53.25

Okay you get new car... say 38mpg... (that is high number)

425 miles a week @ 38mpg = 11.184 gallons @ $3.50 a gal = $39.14

So you saved $14.11 a week

Or $56.42 a month

Or $667.05 a year...

Missing car payment is $3600 a year... or about $3000 in your pocket with out the new car...

Now no car payment means you can drop your collision... (after all how much is that car worth?)

How much will you save a year in that?

Just some fast ruff things...

You would need to look at what you would replace that thing with.... 38mpg I think is VERY optimistic (btw no one is getting 38mpg with a v6 impala iirc)

Me I'd just pocket the money and wait till the car was dead... 3k a year in your pocket in a few years is a nice down payment on something / decent used.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
Yeah, its looking like the better deal is to keep the car until its dead and use the money to save for a new one and/or pay off other things faster. FWIW, I think you're right on 38-40 being optimistic for a gas engine. My fiance really likes the new Dart and the Aero submodel (small turbo engine) gets 40 EPA but Fuelly only sticks it at 32-34. Of course those could be more city driving than highway but still.


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to JoelC707
I had favorable weather conditions with tail wind the whole time .(that means the wind was going the way I was going)

plus the car was riding lower to the ground since I had 5 people and a trunk full
--
Live Free or Die Hard...

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

2 edits
reply to JoelC707
My son just purchased a new ford focus 2014. Its a small 4 cylinder twin turbo engine. FWIW he is getting 24 mpg on it with 50/50 highway use. Its rated 28/40. Not many cars get near what they claim. Im thinking it has something to do with all the ethanol we have in our gas. In your case im guessing simply dropping collision would save more than the gas mileage saved on a new car. Unless your wife wants to drive around in a matchbox. Leaving hybrids out of the equation.

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·VOIPO
·ooma
·Verizon Broadban..
·Northland Cable ..
·Time Warner Cable
reply to JoelC707
I picked up a little Golf TDI for the long trips and daily driving routine.

In town, going to work - no problem hitting between 43 and 48MPG. On the highway, 48-52MPG, easy peasy in the warm months. Not so much in the cold months.

Not a car I will keep when the warranty runs out. But it is a blast to drive and I fill up 1x a month.


NS4683

join:2000-08-25
South Amboy, NJ
kudos:1
reply to Anonymous_
I don't believe your mileage claim. I've never seen a v6 loaded down as much as you say get anywhere near 30mpg. I call shenanigans.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to Anonymous_
Unless it was a level 3 or higher hurricane and you have a sail on your car I call total BS. What car is this exactly?

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to ke4pym
I was actually looking at the Jetta TDI for a while before we got the current car. We nearly bought one but the guy would never call us back or something like that. I figured with that car I could easily hit the 40-50 mark, maybe even graze 60 sometimes. The downside to that is the cost of diesel over gas. Around here diesel has been around 3.75 vs gas at 3.12 currently.

If we assume I get 28 MPG in the car and variable MPG in a TDI the numbers work like this.
Existing Car: 85 miles a day, 425 a week. That's 15.18 gallons in a week, $47.36
45 MPG TDI: 425 miles in a week, 9.44 gallons. $35.40
50 MPG TDI: 425 miles in a week, 8.5 gallons. $31.88
35 MPG Gas: 425 miles in a week, 12.14 gallons. $37.88
40 MPG Gas: 425 miles in a week, 10.625 gallons. $33.15

The cheaper gas gets (or the more expensive diesel gets), things only start getting better for the gas burner than the diesel. Right now, estimating low on the TDI and average for a new gas car, it's mostly a wash. Anything better for the gas car and it already swings in favor of it.


Boooost

@151.190.40.x
reply to Anonymous_
said by Anonymous_:

that is terrible mileage for a 4 cylinder.

2012 4cyl Accord. 80 miles round-trip, all highway. I get 30.5 mpg, but I'm usually driving around 80 mph. Was going 85 today.

Anyway, I'm just trying to point out that driving habits and topography have a lot to do with the gas mileage. If I drove at 65 mph on a flat, level highway, I'd get 36 mpg.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to JoelC707
If saving money is your priority then stay with the current car until it dies or becomes uneconomical to keep fixing.
If she gets 28mpg with that car, she will likely get 35 at best with a more economical car. Driving conditions and style are drastically affecting that mileage - and the "40mpg" is likely at 55mph but turns into 32-35mpg at realistic highway speeds (75mph).
The potential fuel savings would then only be less than $40/month.
Higher insurance, taxes, financing costs, etc will kill all the *potential* savings.


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Dodge
said by Dodge:

Unless it was a level 3 or higher hurricane and you have a sail on your car I call total BS. What car is this exactly?

Wind can effect the mileage a lot headon wind at 10-20mph is the equivalent drag of going 75-85mph if your going 65mph actual speed.

This is great if you have a airplane a head on wind is what will lift you off the ground

I did not use the brake except while in traffic (slowing = fuel mileage loss)
excessive RPM = fuel wasted

I keep it in the Butter Zone 1500 to 2000rpm

Higher RPM increases drag since it lifts up the front of the car 1 to 3 inches

I do have to say city mileage sucks I'm still average 27MPG according to my average gas meter
--
Live Free or Die Hard...


really

@69.118.94.x
Do you even like read what you type?

Higher RPM lifts the car? LOL

This would be under like WOT... you driving down the highway the car is not lifting off the ground due to RPM... maybe the air making lift...

You keep leaving out what this magical, 40mpg v6 heavily loaded car is...

if this was an impala... the numbers you gave are more than one tank...

LoL "gas meter" that is never right...I changed a corollas average in like 20 miles buy 3.4mpg let me point out, this was +3.4mpg with the AC on LOL... went from 28.8 to 26.5 to 31.2...

Is that what you are basing this one, with the inaccurate meter said?


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

4 edits
I should have said accelerating (this will also depend if it's FWD or RWD)

it lifts the front of the car

simple physics

by accelerating you are creating more drag on the car and wasting more gas
Feedback effect
which will require more fuel.

that is why on cruse control you will get better mileage the car is more stable at a "fixed speed."

like I said CITY mileage sucks especially when you get stuck at almost every red light. you do have to get close to the speed limit other wise you may get a ticket for "obstructing traffic flow"

YOUR speed limit is 25-35mph the normal speed limit is 45 to 55 in most areas \ here this can suck up a lot of gas and kill the average mileage combined with traffic lights and stop signs.

plus the 37 was 95%-97% Highway.

also the gas mileage A/C vs windows was at highway speed of 60mph
it's all ready a proven fact that using the a/c at highway speeds is the way to go as far as mileage" goes..

all 5 windows open (that includes the sunroof). i did not want to cheat by having it closed

the mythbusters test is invalid since they used 2 SUVs which may have different consumption rates for the fuel.. ECM may have different settings that is why the test is "invalid" ..

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ

1 edit
reply to neonhomer
I tbought 23 on a 4.O six was bad in an suv not a car. Compared to 28 on a measely 1.8 and given it has enough power to move I may think it is great.
Around town more like 17 but I drive like an old man according the the wife. Dont heavily accelerate.from stops and.when predicting a red coast to stop not speed up to run it.


omfgkillme

@69.118.94.x
reply to Anonymous_
Everyone tells you 38mpg is a pipe dream you won't even post the year make model of the thing that got it... yet you want to just keep posting nonsense "feedback effect" etc... rofl

I would get into how your tail wind would negate your AC comment because your relative air speed would likely be under the threshold for the AC to give you a gain but. Need to save some fun for later.

Rather than crap up the OPs thread with a starting post of "28mpg is terrible for a 4 cylinder I, one time, with a 90mph tail wind, going 700miles, down hill, in a time space bubble, with no snow, got 37.7 with my v6 magic mystery car" comments you can make start your on thread on this 38mpg marvel of past engineering.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Anonymous_
"that is why on cruse control you will get better mileage the car is more stable at a "fixed speed.""

No - it is because the car stays at a constant RPM - hopefully in overdrive. As soon as you hit good sized hills and mountains the benefits of cruise go out the window.

Most cars under normal acceleration do not rise 3 inches and if they did - the nose settle back down in seconds or when acceleration stops. A couple seconds at most does will not change the mpg that much.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to Anonymous_
Seriously please post the make and model of this magic car that can do 38mpg loaded to the gills (I mean it should easily do 45-50mpg with just the driver right?). I really want to know as I have a 95 mile commute and would like to save some gas.


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
said by Dodge:

Seriously please post the make and model of this magic car that can do 38mpg loaded to the gills (I mean it should easily do 45-50mpg with just the driver right?). I really want to know as I have a 95 mile commute and would like to save some gas.

go get a metro geo
--
Live Free or Die Hard...