Author Topic: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?  (Read 7566 times)

Cwadda

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Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« on: August 07, 2014, 07:53:34 AM »
Hi Mustachians,

January of this year I started a mustachian approach to things. Granted, I'm a 20 year old guy so there wasn't a whole lot to do for my lifestyle as a college student...but I did start becoming financially educated and turned around my high-fee investments into things I was comfortable with and made a lot more sense.

In April, I started looking for a car for my internship. It would be absolutely necessary for driving all over the state. So by the time I was out of school, I would need a car. I looked over MMM's list of "cars for smart people" and researched commuter cars known for their reliability. My top choices came down to the Honda Civic and the Mazda3 (these are both high-rated cars according to MMM). I looked and looked for two months and ended up paying $8000 ($6650 base price plus all repairs) for an '07 Mazda3 - this was my budget max.

My employer pays federal max $0.56 for mileage and I drive 61 miles roundtrip commute per day. So I get about $200/week for gas and I spend $50/week on it. During school times (~30 weeks of the year) I drive 100 miles per week round trip for my other job (and can deduct federal max miles since I am self-employed). I drive no more than 8000 miles per year probably will not for the remainder of college. The car had 86k miles on it when I got it, and I will have it for around 7 years.


Warning: the following paragraph may be horrifying enough to make you sick to your stomach.
I have to say I love my car. I loved it as soon as I saw it. Although it's an older model, it's fully loaded and has some serious zip. I love the look of the Mazda3, especially the older body structures. I'm so proud of it as a first car. None of my friends have cars (and if they do, they didn't pay for them). I'll even go as far as saying it has raised some confidence about myself (something I've needed). Every day I drive it I think to myself and even sometimes say aloud "Wow, this car is awesome." It runs beautifully and has had zero problems.


So, as I re-read the above paragraph I feel like a total Mr. McFancypants and have been put into a moral/mustachian quandary about it lately. I see lots of discussion about fuel efficient vehicles (50+ MPG). My car gets 25-26 MPG, which is about half. Here's the question: Did I purchase the right car? In other words, did I deny the very principles of mustachianism that I seek every day in favor of a wasteful Fancymobile?

neo von retorch

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 07:57:35 AM »
I think you're worrying too much about the extreme end of the spectrum. You seem to get a lot of joy out of your car, and it's not a flagrantly inefficient or excessive vehicle. It is practical, reliable and affordable. We could all drive 20 year old cars for a few hundred dollars a year if we really wanted to, but I don't think it's worth the hassle. For comparison, I bought an '08 Fit with 57k on it for ~$9800. You got a pretty good deal, I think. (And my car isn't "fully loaded.")

Scandium

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 08:04:45 AM »
Meh, probably fine.
I am surprised the mazda 3 doesn't get better mileage though. Had to look it up but fuelly seems to be the same as you're saying. I get ~25 mpg in my Subaru outback (personal best at 27mpg!), so I'm just surprised a tiny hatchback is only a few mph better than a huge 4wd wagon!

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 08:08:47 AM »
Meh, probably fine.
I am surprised the mazda 3 doesn't get better mileage though. Had to look it up but fuelly seems to be the same as you're saying. I get ~25 mpg in my Subaru outback (personal best at 27mpg!), so I'm just surprised a tiny hatchback is only a few mph better than a huge 4wd wagon!

I have a sedan. It's also 2.3L which is going to be thirstier than the 2.0L. Yeah, the newer ones are much better. The 2014 is rated for 41 MPG highway and my friend has a 2013 that gets 35 MPG combined. Even the new 2.5L ones run some decent fuel economy.

Quote
I think you're worrying too much about the extreme end of the spectrum. You seem to get a lot of joy out of your car, and it's not a flagrantly inefficient or excessive vehicle. It is practical, reliable and affordable. We could all drive 20 year old cars for a few hundred dollars a year if we really wanted to, but I don't think it's worth the hassle. For comparison, I bought an '08 Fit with 57k on it for ~$9800. You got a pretty good deal, I think. (And my car isn't "fully loaded.")
I guess I'm just worried about my "justification" - I tend to overthink a lot of things though. Thanks for the thoughts. Honda Fit is a great car. Always been a fan of Honda.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 08:11:37 AM by Cwadda »

innkeeper77

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 08:15:18 AM »
Don't forget, you car has many more safety features than the 50 mpg options.

The Mazda 3 from 2007 is rated at 28/35- meaning that one of two things is happening. 1) You are driving too aggressively, and can increase your mileage by slowing down your acceleration from stoplights (Most people in the US are extremely wasteful in this way.. accelerating that quickly barely saves time, if any) or 2) your car has an undiagnosed mechanical issue causing a loss of efficiency.

I also thought your mileage figures were odd, as my 07 Subaru Impreza- the same size car but with a bigger engine and 4 WD (that saps mileage) consistently gets the same mileage in the city, and up to 29 or 30 on the highway. (An inefficient car that I have had for 7 years now, and will keep, though I would buy a different car if starting again)

neo von retorch

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 08:19:45 AM »
The EPA rating does seem a bit optimistic compared to real world results - http://www.fuelly.com/car/mazda/3/2007
The average driver gets 27 mpg though - you should be able to beat average with some practice. Feather foot up hills, slightly less feather foot down hills to get some extra speed, coast more, brake/accelerate less.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 08:28:41 AM »
I think you're being way too hard on yourself. sounds like it wasn't too expensive, and 50+ mpg is really asking a lot. the only thing I would comment on is this:

I have to say I love my car. I loved it as soon as I saw it. Although it's an older model, it's fully loaded and has some serious zip. I love the look of the Mazda3, especially the older body structures. I'm so proud of it as a first car. None of my friends have cars (and if they do, they didn't pay for them). I'll even go as far as saying it has raised some confidence about myself (something I've needed). Every day I drive it I think to myself and even sometimes say aloud "Wow, this car is awesome." It runs beautifully and has had zero problems.

linking personal pride and other emotions to possessions is a slippery slope to consumerism, IMO :)

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 08:43:08 AM »
Don't forget, you car has many more safety features than the 50 mpg options.

The Mazda 3 from 2007 is rated at 28/35- meaning that one of two things is happening. 1) You are driving too aggressively, and can increase your mileage by slowing down your acceleration from stoplights (Most people in the US are extremely wasteful in this way.. accelerating that quickly barely saves time, if any) or 2) your car has an undiagnosed mechanical issue causing a loss of efficiency.

I also thought your mileage figures were odd, as my 07 Subaru Impreza- the same size car but with a bigger engine and 4 WD (that saps mileage) consistently gets the same mileage in the city, and up to 29 or 30 on the highway. (An inefficient car that I have had for 7 years now, and will keep, though I would buy a different car if starting again)

Where are you getting those numbers? I will admit I drive quickly, but not aggressively. 65 mph is the optimal speed for efficiency, correct? I also sit in a fair amount of traffic which doesn't help on the fuel economy. So you're saying feather the pedal slowly coming off a dead stop at a stoplight? I am conscientious about braking and anticipating brakes and lights. I won't accelerate up to a stoplight.

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 08:48:28 AM »
I think you're being way too hard on yourself. sounds like it wasn't too expensive, and 50+ mpg is really asking a lot. the only thing I would comment on is this:

I have to say I love my car. I loved it as soon as I saw it. Although it's an older model, it's fully loaded and has some serious zip. I love the look of the Mazda3, especially the older body structures. I'm so proud of it as a first car. None of my friends have cars (and if they do, they didn't pay for them). I'll even go as far as saying it has raised some confidence about myself (something I've needed). Every day I drive it I think to myself and even sometimes say aloud "Wow, this car is awesome." It runs beautifully and has had zero problems.

linking personal pride and other emotions to possessions is a slippery slope to consumerism, IMO :)

Yes, that's true! I can assure you though that I'm not headed that way though. I've packed my own lunch for almost 2 months straight 6 days/week now! No going out at all! :D

CarDude

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 09:02:23 AM »
Don't forget, you car has many more safety features than the 50 mpg options.

Very true.

CarDude

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 09:05:21 AM »
Where are you getting those numbers? I will admit I drive quickly, but not aggressively. 65 mph is the optimal speed for efficiency, correct?

Not at all. Most cars achieve optimal mpg at or around 45 mph, or in the lowest RPM in the highest gear. MPG drops linearly above around 45, while your odds of dying in a collision of any kind rise exponentially. In fact, at highway speeds, the majority of what your car is spending fuel on is pushing air out of its way. Simply observing the speed limit 100% of the time will allow virtually any car to beat its EPA numbers in both city and highway driving.

Scandium

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 09:17:19 AM »
I've heard 55 mph as the optimal. I started going 65 instead of 75 (like everyone else does on I95) and my mpg improved quite a bit. I also tailgate trucks if possible, although that carry some risk if you don't pay attention.

Try this
http://www.mpgforspeed.com/
for example:
"If you normally travel at 75 mph, you could be saving yourself $423.40 per year if you drove at 60mph - and you'd only be making your total commute 6 minutes longer."

for ex

aclarridge

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 09:23:53 AM »
The fact that you had the inclination to worry about this means you definitely don't need to worry about it.

You are fine OP, enjoy your ride. The Mazda3 is a great car - fun and reliable. You could do a lot worse and it seems like you are making up for this "luxury expense" in other areas of your life (packed lunches).

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 09:26:38 AM »
I've heard 55 mph as the optimal. I started going 65 instead of 75 (like everyone else does on I95) and my mpg improved quite a bit. I also tailgate trucks if possible, although that carry some risk if you don't pay attention.

Try this
http://www.mpgforspeed.com/
for example:
"If you normally travel at 75 mph, you could be saving yourself $423.40 per year if you drove at 60mph - and you'd only be making your total commute 6 minutes longer."

for ex

Cool site. I liked the part about planes.

In that case, that's what I'll try today. Because I'll usually drive at 70-75 in a 65 mph zone. I have done a bit of truck tailgating lately after I read MMM's article on hypermilling. However, I will drive 70-75 mph in a lower mph zone if it's downhill and I'm just coasting. No sense in braking down to the speed limit.

Quote
The fact that you had the inclination to worry about this means you definitely don't need to worry about it.

You are fine OP, enjoy your ride. The Mazda3 is a great car - fun and reliable. You could do a lot worse and it seems like you are making up for this "luxury expense" in other areas of your life (packed lunches).
Thanks! I figure I might as well enjoy a ride like this while I can in my earlier years.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:30:27 AM by Cwadda »

Scandium

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 10:27:14 AM »
Yeah I used to do 70-75 too (aka 'just not fast enough to get a ticket'-limit), but have been slowing it to 65 lately and my milage has improved. And I don't feel like it's ruining my life. (Although I'm a 31 year old slow old man, not 20 so maybe not as impatient..) Unfortunately I just started tracking my miles and fillups around the same time so don't have an exact number. That's the other thing; if you haven't already get a milage tracker on your phone. Knowing I might get a lower number motivates me to drive carefully.

And remember with tailgating: if you can't see their mirrors, you're doing it right!

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2014, 11:38:03 AM »
Yeah I used to do 70-75 too (aka 'just not fast enough to get a ticket'-limit), but have been slowing it to 65 lately and my milage has improved. And I don't feel like it's ruining my life. (Although I'm a 31 year old slow old man, not 20 so maybe not as impatient..) Unfortunately I just started tracking my miles and fillups around the same time so don't have an exact number. That's the other thing; if you haven't already get a milage tracker on your phone. Knowing I might get a lower number motivates me to drive carefully.

And remember with tailgating: if you can't see their mirrors, you're doing it right!

The car computes the fuel economy on its own. Is this a good method to go by?

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2014, 12:12:17 PM »
I have a 2002 Protege (the generation before the Mazda3) and it's a great little car. Only issue I have with it is that the body is starting to rust right off around the wheel wells. I don't often track the gas mileage but when I do, it gets 30-33 mpg.

Scandium

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 12:13:56 PM »
Yeah I used to do 70-75 too (aka 'just not fast enough to get a ticket'-limit), but have been slowing it to 65 lately and my milage has improved. And I don't feel like it's ruining my life. (Although I'm a 31 year old slow old man, not 20 so maybe not as impatient..) Unfortunately I just started tracking my miles and fillups around the same time so don't have an exact number. That's the other thing; if you haven't already get a milage tracker on your phone. Knowing I might get a lower number motivates me to drive carefully.

And remember with tailgating: if you can't see their mirrors, you're doing it right!

The car computes the fuel economy on its own. Is this a good method to go by?
Mine does that too. I guess it's accurate enough, but it's only an average between every time I reset it. With the app I have the average for each fillup, which can vary 23-27 mpg. And I'll have a saved history of all my fillups, total average, cost of fuel/month etc. (although some of those I'd get from Mint too). It's a little extra work but as an engineer I like data more than most..

innkeeper77

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2014, 07:38:36 PM »

Where are you getting those numbers? I will admit I drive quickly, but not aggressively. .... So you're saying feather the pedal slowly coming off a dead stop at a stoplight? I am conscientious about braking and anticipating brakes and lights. I won't accelerate up to a stoplight.

Those numbers are the EPA published numbers, as in the numbers that would be on the car paperwork if you bought it now. (I just did a bit of google searching)

For reference on the driving slower bit, I am a firm believer that you should rarely need to use brakes.. (And I am 23) However, this is probably different if you drive an autobox without any engine braking!

I stopped speeding (when I got a $300 ticket in college.......) and saw a large improvement in MPG on the highway as well. (And I usually only went about 10 mph over, and I slowed down to 0-5 over)
About not accelerating to a stoplight- good! The problem for most people is that they floor it off the green light, which I assume you do not do. Don't feel bad if people get annoyed at you going slow! (I have been almost rear ended twice when shifting from first into second.. no actual issues in 7 years, but still, people are crazy in the US on the road)

Dicey

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2014, 08:01:40 PM »
Great question, Cwadda! Most people don't have an employer who pays them to drive their cars. Since your employer does, they can rightfully expect that you will choose something that's clean, safe and reliable, but not too flashy. Sounds like that's just what you did. Now, if you really want to prove your mustachian chops, you will bank the difference between your mileage payments and your actual costs. Do so and you can turn a deaf ear to the naysayers and enjoy your new-to-you car without a shred of guilt. Oh, and don't speed and do your own regular maintenance. Kudos to you on what looks like a sound decision, IMHO!

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2014, 08:09:29 PM »
As far as truck tailgating is concerned, any of the 423.40 gained by hypermiling behind trucks is offset by the inevitable rock chip on the windshield.

innkeeper77

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 08:16:22 PM »
As far as truck tailgating is concerned, any of the 423.40 gained by hypermiling behind trucks is offset by the inevitable rock chip on the windshield.

I would say that those chips are inevitable anyway, if you are driving near trucks. Mine has 3 chips so far, and I never draft. Fortunately, even cheap modern windshields seem to resist growing cracks fairly well! I have 3 chips, and NO crack growth.

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2014, 08:22:51 PM »
As far as truck tailgating is concerned, any of the 423.40 gained by hypermiling behind trucks is offset by the inevitable rock chip on the windshield.

Not to mention the certainty of death in any kind of a collision with the back of one, aka underride.

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2014, 08:24:19 PM »
As far as truck tailgating is concerned, any of the 423.40 gained by hypermiling behind trucks is offset by the inevitable rock chip on the windshield.
Well, no one should be tailgating to begin with, you can get plenty good mileage by just driving at a slowish pace on the right.

With that said. I've only gotten my windshield nicked at higher speeds, and I'm fairly certain that's because KE varies by speed squared.

Lets say a truck launches a pebble at my windshield at 20mph. In one situation I'm going 50mph towards the pebble, in the other I'm going 80mph. Even though I've only increase by speed by ~60% going from 50-80mph, I've doubled the KE of the pebble.

I'm fairly certain this is why I haven't had any trouble with paint nicks/windshield cracks when I'm driving with fuel economy in mind.

DarinC

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 08:29:32 PM »
Hi Mustachians,

January of this year I started a mustachian approach to things. Granted, I'm a 20 year old guy so there wasn't a whole lot to do for my lifestyle as a college student...but I did start becoming financially educated and turned around my high-fee investments into things I was comfortable with and made a lot more sense.

In April, I started looking for a car for my internship. It would be absolutely necessary for driving all over the state. So by the time I was out of school, I would need a car. I looked over MMM's list of "cars for smart people" and researched commuter cars known for their reliability. My top choices came down to the Honda Civic and the Mazda3 (these are both high-rated cars according to MMM). I looked and looked for two months and ended up paying $8000 ($6650 base price plus all repairs) for an '07 Mazda3 - this was my budget max.

My employer pays federal max $0.56 for mileage and I drive 61 miles roundtrip commute per day. So I get about $200/week for gas and I spend $50/week on it. During school times (~30 weeks of the year) I drive 100 miles per week round trip for my other job (and can deduct federal max miles since I am self-employed). I drive no more than 8000 miles per year probably will not for the remainder of college. The car had 86k miles on it when I got it, and I will have it for around 7 years.


Warning: the following paragraph may be horrifying enough to make you sick to your stomach.
I have to say I love my car. I loved it as soon as I saw it. Although it's an older model, it's fully loaded and has some serious zip. I love the look of the Mazda3, especially the older body structures. I'm so proud of it as a first car. None of my friends have cars (and if they do, they didn't pay for them). I'll even go as far as saying it has raised some confidence about myself (something I've needed). Every day I drive it I think to myself and even sometimes say aloud "Wow, this car is awesome." It runs beautifully and has had zero problems.


So, as I re-read the above paragraph I feel like a total Mr. McFancypants and have been put into a moral/mustachian quandary about it lately. I see lots of discussion about fuel efficient vehicles (50+ MPG). My car gets 25-26 MPG, which is about half. Here's the question: Did I purchase the right car? In other words, did I deny the very principles of mustachianism that I seek every day in favor of a wasteful Fancymobile?
You can get better than that in your 3, but realistically, you'll get ~40-45mpg in a used gen 2 Prius driving the same way, and can also get better mileage in the Prius. I'm guessing you would save ~$3k-$4k over the next 7 years w/ a Prius.

With all that said, I think you should be more focused on teaching yourself how to fix your own car, because you'll probably save just as much if not more than you would with a Prius. If you get a Prius and fix your own stuff, then you're in double bonus territory.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2014, 09:00:41 PM »
Holy cow, I did not expect such "bad" fuel economy from a Mazda 3, even from 2007. Making a mental note to check EPA ratings for all years in the future.

okashira

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 09:07:45 PM »
Don't forget, you car has many more safety features than the 50 mpg options.

The Mazda 3 from 2007 is rated at 28/35- meaning that one of two things is happening. 1) You are driving too aggressively, and can increase your mileage by slowing down your acceleration from stoplights (Most people in the US are extremely wasteful in this way.. accelerating that quickly barely saves time, if any) or 2) your car has an undiagnosed mechanical issue causing a loss of efficiency.

I also thought your mileage figures were odd, as my 07 Subaru Impreza- the same size car but with a bigger engine and 4 WD (that saps mileage) consistently gets the same mileage in the city, and up to 29 or 30 on the highway. (An inefficient car that I have had for 7 years now, and will keep, though I would buy a different car if starting again)

This is incorrect. It doesn't waste gas to accelerate quickly - in fact, ICE's are more efficient at high loads.
What kills fuel mileage is braking. Stop braking by getting off the gas as early as possible and coast. And top speed. Keep it to 65.

I drive a similar car with a larger engine and 1 more cylinder and I average 30mpg.

I agree OP needs to look at the car and driving habits. Tire pressure, spark plugs, engine codes, air filter, injectors
But it's probably the driver. ;-)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:11:55 PM by okashira »

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 09:28:31 PM »
Don't forget, you car has many more safety features than the 50 mpg options.

The Mazda 3 from 2007 is rated at 28/35- meaning that one of two things is happening. 1) You are driving too aggressively, and can increase your mileage by slowing down your acceleration from stoplights (Most people in the US are extremely wasteful in this way.. accelerating that quickly barely saves time, if any) or 2) your car has an undiagnosed mechanical issue causing a loss of efficiency.

I also thought your mileage figures were odd, as my 07 Subaru Impreza- the same size car but with a bigger engine and 4 WD (that saps mileage) consistently gets the same mileage in the city, and up to 29 or 30 on the highway. (An inefficient car that I have had for 7 years now, and will keep, though I would buy a different car if starting again)


Where are you getting those numbers? I will admit I drive quickly, but not aggressively. .... So you're saying feather the pedal slowly coming off a dead stop at a stoplight? I am conscientious about braking and anticipating brakes and lights. I won't accelerate up to a stoplight.

Those numbers are the EPA published numbers, as in the numbers that would be on the car paperwork if you bought it now. (I just did a bit of google searching)

There are a couple errors in your numbers. The first is you assumed he is driving the 2.0 model. He posted above that he has the 2.3, which gets slightly worse fuel economy. As a side note, the hatchback of that year is unfortunately only available with the 2.3.

The second mistake (or more just misleading for comparison purposes) was quoting the original EPA mileage instead of the adjusted mileage. The EPA changed their rating system in 2008, so the window sticker on a 2007 would have higher numbers than the same car in 2008. If you want to see a pre-2008 car's adjusted numbers so you can compare it to a newer car just go to fueleconomy.gov. For example, the 2007 Mazda 3 with the  2.0 engine has been adjusted to 24/32 mpg (previously 28/35 mpg, as you stated).

The original poster's car with the 2.3 engine has an adjusted rating of 22/30 mpg and the combined rating is 25 mpg, which is about what he said he is getting. So his driving could be perfectly fine. Your mileage may vary based on a variety of factors.

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2014, 04:36:03 AM »
Update!:

On my latest drive to work and back 61 miles round trip (6 miles of it city) and I got 29.3 MPG combined!!! I went a comfortable 65-68 mph, put it in neutral for ~15 second hills, drove behind a trailer truck for a bit, accelerated slowly off stoplights, built enough speed going downhill to keep the car in 5th with lower RPMs going back up, and feathered the throttle going uphill. Huge 3.8 MPG difference. Also, driving a bit slower has really helped my road rage. I tend to get pissed off at large SUV vehicles with 1 person in them, and generally have low tolerance for things on the road. But I just felt a lot more relaxed and the ride seemed to go by quicker than usual!

So I don't think the car has any mechanical issues - it was just me!

Quote
Great question, Cwadda! Most people don't have an employer who pays them to drive their cars. Since your employer does, they can rightfully expect that you will choose something that's clean, safe and reliable, but not too flashy. Sounds like that's just what you did. Now, if you really want to prove your mustachian chops, you will bank the difference between your mileage payments and your actual costs. Do so and you can turn a deaf ear to the naysayers and enjoy your new-to-you car without a shred of guilt. Oh, and don't speed and do your own regular maintenance. Kudos to you on what looks like a sound decision, IMHO!
I'm doing just that. Extra cash goes straight to the 'stache. I will put a few hundred of that to new rear brakes and then I'm taking that extra cash for the rest of the summer!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 04:42:54 AM by Cwadda »

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2014, 06:35:04 AM »
Update!:

On my latest drive to work and back 61 miles round trip (6 miles of it city) and I got 29.3 MPG combined!!! I went a comfortable 65-68 mph, put it in neutral for ~15 second hills, drove behind a trailer truck for a bit, accelerated slowly off stoplights, built enough speed going downhill to keep the car in 5th with lower RPMs going back up, and feathered the throttle going uphill. Huge 3.8 MPG difference. Also, driving a bit slower has really helped my road rage. I tend to get pissed off at large SUV vehicles with 1 person in them, and generally have low tolerance for things on the road. But I just felt a lot more relaxed and the ride seemed to go by quicker than usual!

hmm. I think I need to try this :)

mpg350

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2014, 06:55:02 AM »
No you did fine the car gets good gas mileage and you love the car.

I would much rather drive a Mazda 3 than a Prius or some other 50 mpg car.

Congrats.

Cwadda

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2014, 07:22:10 AM »
Thanks people!

I love my car. Her name is "Black Beauty" :D

innkeeper77

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2014, 09:27:10 AM »

This is incorrect. It doesn't waste gas to accelerate quickly - in fact, ICE's are more efficient at high loads.
What kills fuel mileage is braking. Stop braking by getting off the gas as early as possible and coast. And top speed. Keep it to 65.

I drive a similar car with a larger engine and 1 more cylinder and I average 30mpg.

I agree OP needs to look at the car and driving habits. Tire pressure, spark plugs, engine codes, air filter, injectors
But it's probably the driver. ;-)

Thanks for posting some more information on this! I decided to look up information and educate myself. It turns out, we are both right, and both wrong. Here is a thread that talks about the issue:
https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/5590/does-accelerating-faster-worsen-fuel-efficiency

Engines are more efficient at high load- but LOW rpm. Higher RPM's increase parasitic losses, causing extra heat generation rather than speed. Therefore, you should use wide open throttle, but keep the revs low (Low depends on the car of course). One last thing of note, is that keeping most american cars under full load means the transmission will do the opposite of what is ideal, and will downshift, increasing revolutions and power, decreasing efficiency. I do not know if the OP drives a standard or an automatic, therefore slower starts are most likely better, unless the revs can manually be kept down.

I now want to splurge on an OBDII reader to determine the sweet spot for my car, and post the details here... but on the other hand, I don't drive enough for that to make financial sense!

Cwadda: Awesome job on the increased mileage! It's nice to know that you can keep fuel usage lower when driving a boring commute, yet still have extra power when you want/need it!

okashira

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Re: Inner Conflict: Did I buy the wrong car?
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2014, 09:49:24 AM »

This is incorrect. It doesn't waste gas to accelerate quickly - in fact, ICE's are more efficient at high loads.
What kills fuel mileage is braking. Stop braking by getting off the gas as early as possible and coast. And top speed. Keep it to 65.

I drive a similar car with a larger engine and 1 more cylinder and I average 30mpg.

I agree OP needs to look at the car and driving habits. Tire pressure, spark plugs, engine codes, air filter, injectors
But it's probably the driver. ;-)

Thanks for posting some more information on this! I decided to look up information and educate myself. It turns out, we are both right, and both wrong. Here is a thread that talks about the issue:
https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/5590/does-accelerating-faster-worsen-fuel-efficiency

Engines are more efficient at high load- but LOW rpm. Higher RPM's increase parasitic losses, causing extra heat generation rather than speed. Therefore, you should use wide open throttle, but keep the revs low (Low depends on the car of course). One last thing of note, is that keeping most american cars under full load means the transmission will do the opposite of what is ideal, and will downshift, increasing revolutions and power, decreasing efficiency. I do not know if the OP drives a standard or an automatic, therefore slower starts are most likely better, unless the revs can manually be kept down.

I now want to splurge on an OBDII reader to determine the sweet spot for my car, and post the details here... but on the other hand, I don't drive enough for that to make financial sense!

Cwadda: Awesome job on the increased mileage! It's nice to know that you can keep fuel usage lower when driving a boring commute, yet still have extra power when you want/need it!

They are still reasonably efficient at higher RPM as well, id say even all the way to 5000 rpm on a newer 2.3 4 cylinder.
It's just that you do indeed need to use a wide throttle position.
The problem an open throttle at high RPM will lead to excessive acceleration in 98% of instances. So the answer is, as you said, to keep it to lower RPM's and use more throttle.

Id recommend not using complete WOT, though. Many ECU's are programmed to dump excessive fuel at WOT and/or just aren't programmed for good efficiency at WOT.

It would be fun to see if you can combine a datalogger with an OBD II reader and create a brake specific fuel consumption chart.

I found some good discussion here:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/bsfc-chart-thread-post-em-if-you-got-1466.html

I would say a vacuum gauge would be the best way to make sure you are at good efficiency. Keep it to 3-6 inches of mercury, and below 4500rpm.
OBDII data would be misleading, IMHO.

 
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 10:15:35 AM by okashira »