Author Topic: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?  (Read 4126 times)

mrsggrowsveg

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Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« on: October 22, 2014, 08:13:31 AM »
We currently have two cars.  Car #1 is my Jeep Liberty.  It is reliable and can pull our trailer.  We use the trailer to haul our pigs to the market and to get grain and farm supplies.  It also has 4WD which is useful about 7 days out of the year when the roads don't get plowed.  If I hypermile, I can get 20mpg in the Jeep.  This is usually my commute vehicle.  Car #2 is a Jetta TDI that my husband uses to travel for work.

I would really like to get a Prius or Honda Fit to drive to work instead of the Jeep.  If I get a car, I would probably also need a farm truck for the above farm tasks.  I would plan on spending about $7000-$8000 on a commuter vehicle and less than $3000 for a farm truck. 

Would it be worth it to get rid of the Jeep or should I drive it into the ground?  Is there a better mpg trailer pulling vehicle?

nereo

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 08:26:12 AM »
We currently have two cars.  Car #1 is my Jeep Liberty.  It is reliable and can pull our trailer.  We use the trailer to haul our pigs to the market and to get grain and farm supplies.  It also has 4WD which is useful about 7 days out of the year when the roads don't get plowed.  If I hypermile, I can get 20mpg in the Jeep.  This is usually my commute vehicle.  Car #2 is a Jetta TDI that my husband uses to travel for work.

I would really like to get a Prius or Honda Fit to drive to work instead of the Jeep.  If I get a car, I would probably also need a farm truck for the above farm tasks.  I would plan on spending about $7000-$8000 on a commuter vehicle and less than $3000 for a farm truck. 

Would it be worth it to get rid of the Jeep or should I drive it into the ground?  Is there a better mpg trailer pulling vehicle?

... if I understand you correctly, you are choosing between keeping the two cars you have or buying a third.  If you buy a third, gas friendly car I imagine you would not drive the jeep all that often... just to get farm supplies and haul pigs, right?  If that's the case you probably won't save very much per year finding a 'better' hauling vehicle.  You can find vehicles that can tow and get better MPG, but you're probably talking an increase of ~5mpg for a vehicle you might only drive (guessing here) 4,000 miles/year if you have two commuter vehicles, which would save you a whopping $130/year in fuel compared with just keeping your Jeep.  Not worth it IMO.

For $7-8k you can find quite a few used commuter vehicles that get 35+mpg (far more if you hypermile). 

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 08:38:53 AM »
Yes I am trying to decide if I should have three vehicles or just keep two.  I am mostly worried about the extra insurance, taxes and registration on three vehicles.  My commute is 25 miles each way so I drive a lot of miles each year.  It is a long commute right now but we are working towards early retirement then we will farm and only go into town for markets.

ketchup

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 09:10:48 AM »
You have to crunch your own numbers, but this sort of thing can work out.

Earlier this year, I "traded down" from a 1996 Volvo 850 wagon to a 1999 Chevy Metro and 1992 Buick Roadmaster Wagon.  I sold the Volvo for $1650, and bought the Metro for $1000 and the Roadmaster for $700.  So dollars-in was pretty close to dollars-out upfront on this "trade".

The Volvo was too much of a relative gas guzzler (~26MPG avg) for 90% of our miles, and too small/unable-to-tow for 10% of our miles.  The Metro gets me 45MPG all day (and the cheapest/easiest maintenance and repairs ever), and the Roadmaster seats 7 if desired, fits four medium sized dog crates if desired (plus driver and passenger), has a towing capacity rivaling plenty of pickup trucks (5,000lbs with the towing package), and still manages to hit 20MPG on the highway while using A/C (it's quite a greenhouse so unfortunately A/C isn't as optional as in other cars in the summer).

So the Metro is my go-to daily driver (and for trips if we don't need the big car), and the Roadmaster sits 90% of the time (I'm sure the neighbors look out at it every morning and admire its beauty).  It only gets used if we're transporting a crapload of people, traveling with multiple crated dogs, towing, etc.  It's also useful in a pinch for the times when we need a second vehicle (luckily not terribly often).

It's been a win-win for us.  The only increased constant costs have been registration and insurance, which totals about $500/year for us.  I've already saved more than that much in gas by driving the Metro instead of the Volvo.  And the Roadmaster has been incredibly handy to have around.  I think the benefits will only increase with time.

nereo

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 09:37:07 AM »
Yes I am trying to decide if I should have three vehicles or just keep two.  I am mostly worried about the extra insurance, taxes and registration on three vehicles.  My commute is 25 miles each way so I drive a lot of miles each year.  It is a long commute right now but we are working towards early retirement then we will farm and only go into town for markets.

You have a long commute so it makes sense to have as fuel efficient a (used) vehicle as you can find.
insurance, taxes and registration will vary depending on your driving record and location, but probably won't be that much. Call your insurance company, since you aren't increasing the total number of drivers or the number of miles driven the increase cost of a third car will probably be <$25/month.  You can find out what taxes you will pay by going to your state's DMV, but...

As a simple example, imagine you go from the ~20mpg as your commuter to a fuel efficient 35mpg.  Just your commute (50 miles/day x 5 days/week x 50 weeks/year) puts 12,500 miles on the car.   At fuel prices around $3.25 (a low estimate) you'll spend $1,160 in fuel with a new (used) car vs $2,031 in your jeep, a fuel savings of $871/year.  Even with increased taxes and a bump in your insurance rates you should come out ahead.    If fuel prices increase you will come out even further ahead.  Plus, there's the benefit of knowing you are using less of our planet's resources.  Plus both cars should last longer since your Jeep won't be commuting.

GuitarStv

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 09:44:35 AM »
How often do you need to haul things?  Are we talking like ten or twelve big trips a year, or every other week?

daverobev

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 09:51:00 AM »
Big question is: how much weight do you need to tow? That'll tell you whether you need a car that can tow a bit, or two vehicles.

MayDay

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 09:53:30 AM »
We just went from three to two cars. The savings on insurance was 50$/year, and registration was 55$/year in my state.

Not a huge yearly savings for us to dump the third car, but we wanted the 5k from selling before it depreciated any more.

We found that staying up on maintenance and oil changes was the worst part of having 3. I actually still hate it with 2, and can't wait to only have 1.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 09:55:43 AM »
We have been using the trailer or my dad's truck at least once a month for various farm errands.  We use my dad's truck far more than the jeep, but I'm not sure how long he will let us keep borrowing it.  Would it be feasible to rent a truck when needed? Or better to buy a really cheap farm truck?  My jeep has 200K miles on it so probably isn't worth much to sell.  When we purchase grain it is about 1300 lbs in the back of a truck. 

nereo

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 10:36:02 AM »
We have been using the trailer or my dad's truck at least once a month for various farm errands.  We use my dad's truck far more than the jeep, but I'm not sure how long he will let us keep borrowing it.  Would it be feasible to rent a truck when needed? Or better to buy a really cheap farm truck?  My jeep has 200K miles on it so probably isn't worth much to sell.  When we purchase grain it is about 1300 lbs in the back of a truck.
Renting could be an option - you'll have to ask local places what they charge.  In my experience it's typically cost around $50/day whenever I needed a truck.
Just plugged some quick numbers in and oyur jeep is probably worth somewhere between $3k-5k, depending on options, year and condition. If you sold it that would allow you to rent a truck maybe once a month for five+ years (12 times/year x 5 years x $50/day = $3k) before you renting cost more than owning.  Not bad. Question then becomes is it convenient enough for you to pick up rental truck, or would you have to drive 45 minutes each way to do so?

using MayDay's experience, you might pay just ~$100 more/year to add a third used car to your fleet.  With the Jeep no longer doing commuter duty, there's no reason it shouldn't last for many more years.  As I noted in my earlier post, you'll save >$700/year having a fuel efficient commuter ($871est - $110 est).

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Own three cars or drive a gas guzzler?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 01:17:48 PM »
Renting could be an option - you'll have to ask local places what they charge.  In my experience it's typically cost around $50/day whenever I needed a truck.

Good option, think outside the box a bit.  The initial gut response is usually 'oh no, I definitely need my own truck because we use it all the time for truck things' but how often do you HAVE to use it, if it weren't sitting there as the laziest option?

Another alternative to a 3rd car, which may take a long time to pay for itself in gas savings, is a motorcycle.  I've had two 250cc motorcycles that cost <$1500, got 85mpg, and did fine on the highway at 75mph.  I was commuting 30 miles each way 5 days a week when gas was $4/gal, that bike paid for itself pretty quick.