Author Topic: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?  (Read 2872 times)

MickeyMoustache

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When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« on: August 01, 2016, 06:57:14 AM »
I currently drive a paid off 2008 Acura TL and was considering selling it and switching over to a Honda fit or something else that is particularly good when doing highway driving (70-75 mph, typically).  So today I did a test to see just how bad my fuel efficiency was, but I was pleasantly surprised that I hit 35mpg avg after arriving to work (I was expecting 28-29).  Looking at the Honda Fit, I couldn't find more than 42mpg but 7mpg doesn't not seem worth making the switch.  I'm sure insurance & maintenance expenses are a bit lower as well, but I'm about to do my 100k service today and then I should be good for quite a while.

So when is it worth switching?  What's the threshold?  My commute is about 35 miles, each way and its mostly highway (31 miles of it).  The Acura has 100k miles, 35 mpg average (single test).  I buy regular fuel.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2016, 07:20:41 AM »
I don't think you're going to do a lot better than 35 with a Fit. This is just a spreadsheet problem, with the added complication of not knowing how much gas will be. There are decent online calculators that let you estimate maintenance costs as well.

I think the good values in low-maintenance, low-fuel-cost cars are used electric vehicles, but you have a pretty hefty commute and you'd need to charge at work to feel safe in the winter with most of them.

Any way to reduce the commute?

NoStacheOhio

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2016, 07:50:06 AM »
Double check your owner's manual on the recommended octane; most new-ish Acuras want 91. Running 87 shouldn't damage anything, but could give you lower fuel economy. Whether or not it's cheaper to use premium with better mileage or regular with worse mileage depends on the car.

How much do you drive outside of commuting? You'd need a lot of highway driving to make up the cost of buying a new car. Obviously when this one dies, shoot for something less expensive/more efficient, but if this one is running well, keep it.

MickeyMoustache

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2016, 08:19:44 AM »
I don't think you're going to do a lot better than 35 with a Fit. This is just a spreadsheet problem, with the added complication of not knowing how much gas will be. There are decent online calculators that let you estimate maintenance costs as well.

I think the good values in low-maintenance, low-fuel-cost cars are used electric vehicles, but you have a pretty hefty commute and you'd need to charge at work to feel safe in the winter with most of them.

Any way to reduce the commute?

Yeah the plan was to drive this to about 300k miles (400k if possible!) and then buy a used tesla or volt or something since that should be 5+ years down the road for me.  TLs have a really good track record for high mileage so I'm hopeful mine will make it the distance.

No way to reduce the commute at the moment, we just consciously bought a new house far from work so that my wife and kids could have a better school system & live in civilization.  There is a lot of industry where I live though, so there might be an option to find work closer to home in the future (not a change I want to make at the moment, current company/role is really good).

MickeyMoustache

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2016, 08:23:30 AM »
Double check your owner's manual on the recommended octane; most new-ish Acuras want 91. Running 87 shouldn't damage anything, but could give you lower fuel economy. Whether or not it's cheaper to use premium with better mileage or regular with worse mileage depends on the car.

How much do you drive outside of commuting? You'd need a lot of highway driving to make up the cost of buying a new car. Obviously when this one dies, shoot for something less expensive/more efficient, but if this one is running well, keep it.

I'm pretty sure its 91 but 87 is already getting over the EPA specified mpg by far.

I don't drive much at all, unless going somewhere with the family at which point we take the clown car (3 kids).  I wouldn't buy new, basically I'd sell mine for $6-8k and buy a used something for $5-6k.  I don't need the capital freed up either, so that's not really a huge benefit to me.  I'm leaning towards it not being worth going into an unknown vehicle that may have hidden issues that will end up costing me more in the long run.

ketchup

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2016, 08:25:09 AM »
Figure out the per-year (based on expected miles driven) and per-mile costs of both your current vehicle and proposed replacement vehicle.  Compare those, and if it's enough to compensate for transaction costs and the inherent uncertainty/risk of switching vehicles, go for it.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2016, 08:30:13 AM »
I don't think you're going to do a lot better than 35 with a Fit. This is just a spreadsheet problem, with the added complication of not knowing how much gas will be. There are decent online calculators that let you estimate maintenance costs as well.

I think the good values in low-maintenance, low-fuel-cost cars are used electric vehicles, but you have a pretty hefty commute and you'd need to charge at work to feel safe in the winter with most of them.

Any way to reduce the commute?

Yeah the plan was to drive this to about 300k miles (400k if possible!) and then buy a used tesla or volt or something since that should be 5+ years down the road for me.  TLs have a really good track record for high mileage so I'm hopeful mine will make it the distance.

No way to reduce the commute at the moment, we just consciously bought a new house far from work so that my wife and kids could have a better school system & live in civilization.  There is a lot of industry where I live though, so there might be an option to find work closer to home in the future (not a change I want to make at the moment, current company/role is really good).

Any possibility of WFH one day a week? 20% reduction in your commuting costs would be pretty sweet.

MickeyMoustache

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2016, 09:45:51 AM »
I don't think you're going to do a lot better than 35 with a Fit. This is just a spreadsheet problem, with the added complication of not knowing how much gas will be. There are decent online calculators that let you estimate maintenance costs as well.

I think the good values in low-maintenance, low-fuel-cost cars are used electric vehicles, but you have a pretty hefty commute and you'd need to charge at work to feel safe in the winter with most of them.

Any way to reduce the commute?

Yeah the plan was to drive this to about 300k miles (400k if possible!) and then buy a used tesla or volt or something since that should be 5+ years down the road for me.  TLs have a really good track record for high mileage so I'm hopeful mine will make it the distance.

No way to reduce the commute at the moment, we just consciously bought a new house far from work so that my wife and kids could have a better school system & live in civilization.  There is a lot of industry where I live though, so there might be an option to find work closer to home in the future (not a change I want to make at the moment, current company/role is really good).

Any possibility of WFH one day a week? 20% reduction in your commuting costs would be pretty sweet.

Short term, no.  Long term, probably.  I'll keep this in mind though.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2016, 10:05:40 AM »
I'm pretty sure its 91 but 87 is already getting over the EPA specified mpg by far.

I don't drive much at all, unless going somewhere with the family at which point we take the clown car (3 kids).  I wouldn't buy new, basically I'd sell mine for $6-8k and buy a used something for $5-6k.  I don't need the capital freed up either, so that's not really a huge benefit to me.  I'm leaning towards it not being worth going into an unknown vehicle that may have hidden issues that will end up costing me more in the long run.

Sorry, "new" in this case didn't mean "actually new," rather "new to you."

But yeah, in that situation it seems like the car you have is cheap enough to run that replacing it wouldn't get you much (if any) gain.

MickeyMoustache

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2016, 01:26:29 PM »
I'm pretty sure its 91 but 87 is already getting over the EPA specified mpg by far.

I don't drive much at all, unless going somewhere with the family at which point we take the clown car (3 kids).  I wouldn't buy new, basically I'd sell mine for $6-8k and buy a used something for $5-6k.  I don't need the capital freed up either, so that's not really a huge benefit to me.  I'm leaning towards it not being worth going into an unknown vehicle that may have hidden issues that will end up costing me more in the long run.

Sorry, "new" in this case didn't mean "actually new," rather "new to you."

But yeah, in that situation it seems like the car you have is cheap enough to run that replacing it wouldn't get you much (if any) gain.

I should have assumed that's what you meant considering the forum we're on :)

At this point, I think I'll stick with what I've got!  Thanks for the input everyone.

ender

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2016, 06:37:43 AM »
Fuel costs are a relatively small percentage of most cars operating expenses, particularly ones which are already getting 25+ MPG. Run the math, the incremental effect is fairly meaningless.

If you are driving 1000 miles a week, you will buy 24 gallons (at 42 MPG) or 28.5 (at 35 MPG). Gas where I live has averaged around $2/gallon for quite some time, which means over the course of a year, you would only save $450 in gas.

However, that's driving ONE THOUSAND MILES A WEEK. If you drive a far more normal 14k miles/year, you're looking at 333 vs 400 gallons a year worth of gas - or around $134/year difference.


ChairmanKaga

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2016, 10:19:45 AM »
Former Fit Owner. It was a 2007 base with a 5-speed manual. My best average MPG on a plain old week of going to work was 33. The TL has Honda's 3.6 (I think) V6 mated to a 5-speed auto, most likely. Unless it's the S-Type, which has the 3.8 and a 6-speed. Either way, you're going to be FAR more comfortable in the TL, which I think is maybe the most comfortable car Honda has ever made. Those seats are amazing. Assuming you don't have the explodey transmission, which I think was resolved in late 2006, your car should be good for a least a quarter million miles with no major work. Knock on wood.

At the moment subcompact resale values are in the toilet, thanks to cheap gas (there's a rumor going 'round that Honda is losing so much money on the new 3rg gen Fit that they might drop it from the US market in 2019 in favor of a Civic hatch). So while you COULD get a 2nd gen Fit for not much money, it's still an expenditure that would take YEARS of driving to recoup in fuel savings. As someone mentioned, you can run a spreadsheet. But in my opinion you will be far less comfortable in the Fit, and if you drive much at all, that's an intangible that will nevertheless impact you (and your back) for as long as you own it.

I'd keep the TL.

MickeyMoustache

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2016, 01:27:02 PM »
Thanks for the great perspective.  I agree completely with your analysis and that's where I've landed, for now.  I think I would regret selling it, in the end.

enigmaT120

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Re: When is it worth it to switch vehicles for the MPGs?
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2016, 02:45:34 PM »
I've been mad at them for quite a while for dropping the Civic hatchbacks and little wagons.  It's too late for them to make amends now, as I'm unlikely to buy anything they haven't made yet.