Author Topic: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?  (Read 3278 times)

Scandium

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Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« on: September 02, 2015, 07:37:11 AM »
Looking at used Prii, mainly 2011 or newer after the redesign. I drive 40 miles per day to work, so put a decent amount of miles on it per year, probably in the range of ~12k total (based on my MPG app data).

My dilemma is how much should I be willing to pay for a car with fewer miles? For example I found two similar 2011 models
44k miles for $13k
34k miles for $14.5

So that's 15 cents per mile, or basically $1,500 for a car with one more "driving year" in it. Is this worth it? Do anyone have a number they use to evaluate the value of fewer miles?

I guess another way to look at it would be $/year of driving. If we assume they both go to 200k miles, the one will give me 13 years, and the other 14, but both at about the same dollars/year. So kinda a toss up at that point, or factoring opportunity cost probably best to go with cheaper/more miles. As that is $1,000/year it seems like paying $1500 for one more year is not worth it?

Gone Fishing

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 07:46:20 AM »
I'm assuming you mean 40 miles roundtrip?  Probably doesn't matter too much, but I'd buy the cheaper one and invest the difference. 

Priuses seem to get good reviews, but be sure to run the numbers on straight gas model as well, such as a Carolla or Fit.  I never could show where I would come out much ahead with a hybrid, and preferred something any old shade tree mechanic could (would?) work on.   

Scandium

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 08:35:39 AM »
I'm assuming you mean 40 miles roundtrip?  Probably doesn't matter too much, but I'd buy the cheaper one and invest the difference. 

Priuses seem to get good reviews, but be sure to run the numbers on straight gas model as well, such as a Carolla or Fit.  I never could show where I would come out much ahead with a hybrid, and preferred something any old shade tree mechanic could (would?) work on.

Yeah I have a pretty extensive spreadsheet with car data (bad case of engineeritus..). A Fit at similar age/miles is at best a few thousand cheaper, but would cost me at least $500/year more in gas (per fueleconomy.gov). Doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering my driving. If I could bike to work this would change though. And the prius is not only practical, but the most reliable car from the most reliable manufacturer, very appealing.

My wife now thinks we should "get something few years newer".. Ugh, have to do some convincing. I see several more thousand $$ that could have gone to Vanguard and cry.. :(
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 11:36:44 AM by Scandium »

lbmustache

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 11:22:31 AM »
Prius are dirt cheap right now, no one in California is buying them. Gas prices are dipping lower making this a good time to buy. The prices aren't that much higher for a car in a comparable class. Gas will shoot up again eventually.

beltim

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 11:51:05 AM »
I usually use 10 cents per mile, based on a roughly $20k car lasting about 200,000 miles.  Based on that, the one with fewer miles is a better deal for you (and both are 10-15% better deals than a new Prius, depending on options).

Gone Fishing

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 01:38:43 PM »
I'm assuming you mean 40 miles roundtrip?  Probably doesn't matter too much, but I'd buy the cheaper one and invest the difference. 

Priuses seem to get good reviews, but be sure to run the numbers on straight gas model as well, such as a Carolla or Fit.  I never could show where I would come out much ahead with a hybrid, and preferred something any old shade tree mechanic could (would?) work on.

Yeah I have a pretty extensive spreadsheet with car data (bad case of engineeritus..). A Fit at similar age/miles is at best a few thousand cheaper, but would cost me at least $500/year more in gas (per fueleconomy.gov). Doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering my driving. If I could bike to work this would change though. And the prius is not only practical, but the most reliable car from the most reliable manufacturer, very appealing.

My wife now thinks we should "get something few years newer".. Ugh, have to do some convincing. I see several more thousand $$ that could have gone to Vanguard and cry.. :(

Not arguing, but just curious as to how you are accounting for a possible battery replacement.  That is what ultimately hung me up.

Scandium

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 01:47:42 PM »
I'm assuming you mean 40 miles roundtrip?  Probably doesn't matter too much, but I'd buy the cheaper one and invest the difference. 

Priuses seem to get good reviews, but be sure to run the numbers on straight gas model as well, such as a Carolla or Fit.  I never could show where I would come out much ahead with a hybrid, and preferred something any old shade tree mechanic could (would?) work on.

Yeah I have a pretty extensive spreadsheet with car data (bad case of engineeritus..). A Fit at similar age/miles is at best a few thousand cheaper, but would cost me at least $500/year more in gas (per fueleconomy.gov). Doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering my driving. If I could bike to work this would change though. And the prius is not only practical, but the most reliable car from the most reliable manufacturer, very appealing.

My wife now thinks we should "get something few years newer".. Ugh, have to do some convincing. I see several more thousand $$ that could have gone to Vanguard and cry.. :(

Not arguing, but just curious as to how you are accounting for a possible battery replacement.  That is what ultimately hung me up.

ehm, well I'm not..
But even so, I've seen estimates of $2-5k to replace, depending on quality/salvaged battery etc. So if I have to do that once in the 10+ years I keep this car it's $200-500/year. If the prius is $500 less per year in gas over a Fit, worst case it's even, minus difference in price. If the battery never fail, I keep the car long or batteries get cheaper, well then I'm better off. I'm basically taking that gamble.

Now I will probably start to research replacement rates for batteries though.

edit: some reassuring data;
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1020431_more-proof-that-batteries-last-ford-escape-hybrid-taxis-retire-with-300000-plus-miles
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1060255_does-the-toyota-prius-hybrid-hold-up-consumer-reports-yes

300,000 mile hybrid taxis and 200,000 mile prius with no degradation of battery performance. The article also note that Toyota consider the battery a life-of-vehicle component (for what it's worth). Also found that replacement is closer to $2,000, maybe up to $3,000.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 01:54:30 PM by Scandium »

Kroaler

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 01:52:48 PM »
The battery issue is what always scared me about hybrids. I have NEVER actually researched it, but it seems I always hear rumors of them wearing out before 200k and needing replacement. Also I've never seen a prius / civic hybrid at the junk yard so I don't know where they go when they get totaled if I wanted to score a battery for cheap.   There must be a secret hybrid heaven some where....

Scandium

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 01:58:08 PM »
The battery issue is what always scared me about hybrids. I have NEVER actually researched it, but it seems I always hear rumors of them wearing out before 200k and needing replacement. Also I've never seen a prius / civic hybrid at the junk yard so I don't know where they go when they get totaled if I wanted to score a battery for cheap.   There must be a secret hybrid heaven some where....

well this consumer reports study finds a replacement rate of less than 1% for newer Prius
http://priuschat.com/threads/honda-civic-hybrid-%E2%80%94-shocking-battery-failure-rates.138068/
Of course those cars are only a few years old.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 01:58:30 PM »
I'm assuming you mean 40 miles roundtrip?  Probably doesn't matter too much, but I'd buy the cheaper one and invest the difference. 

Priuses seem to get good reviews, but be sure to run the numbers on straight gas model as well, such as a Carolla or Fit.  I never could show where I would come out much ahead with a hybrid, and preferred something any old shade tree mechanic could (would?) work on.

Yeah I have a pretty extensive spreadsheet with car data (bad case of engineeritus..). A Fit at similar age/miles is at best a few thousand cheaper, but would cost me at least $500/year more in gas (per fueleconomy.gov). Doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering my driving. If I could bike to work this would change though. And the prius is not only practical, but the most reliable car from the most reliable manufacturer, very appealing.

My wife now thinks we should "get something few years newer".. Ugh, have to do some convincing. I see several more thousand $$ that could have gone to Vanguard and cry.. :(

Not arguing, but just curious as to how you are accounting for a possible battery replacement.  That is what ultimately hung me up.

ehm, well I'm not..
But even so, I've seen estimates of $2-5k to replace, depending on quality/salvaged battery etc. So if I have to do that once in the 10+ years I keep this car it's $200-500/year. If the prius is $500 less per year in gas over a Fit, worst case it's even, minus difference in price. If the battery never fail, I keep the car long or batteries get cheaper, well then I'm better off. I'm basically taking that gamble.

Now I will probably start to research replacement rates for batteries though.

Looks like you can still get a recondition or salvage (from wrecked car) for around $1k.

Be sure to account for the increased cost of low-rolling resistance tires as well to get advertised MPG.  Also, might be worth a call to your favorite mechanic to see if they will do non-hybrid system repairs like AC, waterpumps, emissions etc.  From what I have read, the computers are more finicky than a standard Toyota, and less likely to get along with a independent shop's diagnostic equipment.  Paying stealership prices for otherwise routine repairs can really drive up the cost of ownership quickly.   

Gone Fishing

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 02:05:41 PM »
What type of driving is your commute (city/hwy)?  Stop and go taxi driving is just about perfect for optimal battery life, plus they are going to run up the miles fast, minimizing age related issues. 

A quick scan of Edmunds reviews reveals a lot of replacements in older models, but battery technology is improving quickly.  Are you in a CA compliant state that receives the extended battery (10 yr, 150k) warranty?   

ketchup

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Re: Car shopping, how much to pay per mile?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 03:00:54 PM »
If you assume the car will vaporize into a cloud of dust at 200,000 miles (unlikely but a good conservative estimate for any decent car), you get a depreciation of $14,500 / (200,000 - 34,000)   and $13,000 / (200,000 - 44,000) .  This works out to 8.7cents/mile and 8.3cents/mile for depreciation.  6.7cents/mile and 6.3cents/mile if you call it a 250,000 mile car.  Either way, the 44,000 mile one is a slightly lower total cost of ownership, but there's enough random chance of mechanical failure or premature wear over 200,000 miles that those numbers might as well be the same.  Get the one that's the color your wife likes the most.

It's pretty amazing that a car that new can have such low depreciation numbers.  Both sound like pretty good finds.