Author Topic: Replacing daily driver with a fuel efficient commuter  (Read 1847 times)


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Replacing daily driver with a fuel efficient commuter
« on: May 10, 2014, 12:15:06 PM »
I am looking for ways to decrease my spending on transportation.  I know there was a recent blog post slamming on long daily commutes - but it is part of my job.  I am an electrical apprentice, and have no intention of switching job paths at-least until I achieve licensure.  As an apprentice I work where I am told which sometimes is a nice drive of say 5-10 miles, but currently my site is over 80 miles round-trip.  Previously I was working a bit closer to home and Transportation was the second largest part of my budget behind Retirement, however I am saving more for upkeep and spending more on fuel now pushing it past my ROTH savings.

My vehicle is an old small pickup which averages about 17mpg if I drive with discipline for economy.  I would be fine driving a 4cyl commuter car, but my truck doesn't suggest it is going to have a catastrophic failure anytime soon.  I do repair work on it which makes it cheap to keep running ( water pump, fenders, headlamp assembly, steering rack and pinion , control arms, balljoints, AC clutch, thermostat, etc. ) .  The saying is that the cheapest car to operate is the one you already own - and I don't know what kind of commute I will have in the future ( I could end up being lucky and working close to home, or sharing a ride in a company vehicle). 

The liability policy for it is cheap, and many of the repairs I made were for parts damaged in a collision - so it hasn't been inherently troublesome mechanically. The vehicle would not sell for much because of it's age and condition, trying to decide if I should save aggressively for a Honda etc instead of my current focus of maxing my ROTH this year.

Also I would not be opposed to a motorcycle, but I have to be able to carry a toolbag, lunchbox, hardhat, rain gear, etc - and we have some highways with 75MPH limits so it needs to be able to cruise efficiently near that speed for safety.  I think this might be a loosing proposition considering we have very frigid winters - and outfitting a motorcycle with heated grips and getting all the luggage racks and riding gear would add up fast.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 12:26:28 PM by LukeS »


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Replacing daily driver with a fuel efficient commuter
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 02:02:55 PM »
What's your budget? That makes a huge difference in recommendations.


  • Bristles
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Re: Replacing daily driver with a fuel efficient commuter
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 02:17:38 PM »
The more you drive the more the math will work in getting something really fuel efficient, which typically come with a little bit of a premium price compared to a similar car.

You should try and estimate how many miles you drive in a year and definitely use that number in your calculations.


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Re: Replacing daily driver with a fuel efficient commuter
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 07:51:40 PM »
A Civic hatchback, if you can find one.

But it really depends on the mileage. At 10,000 miles a year, the cost per mile will probably at most differ by $0.25, which nets 2,500.


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Re: Replacing daily driver with a fuel efficient commuter
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 09:38:58 PM »
Since you seem handy at repairs, how about a Honda CRX?  If you can find one that hasn't been modded, with the 1.3L engine and with reasonable mileage, you could get about 2.5x your current fuel economy.  I had one in college that would net me about 45 mpg freeway, and was pretty trouble-free.  You ought to be able to pick one up for under $2K.  The hatchback would also be pretty convenient for packing around your needed tools.

If you want something a little newer, then maybe a Toyota Yaris?