How much does it cost to keep a car? How much of an effect has the recent rise in gasoline prices had on that cost?

H and I have two cars: a 1998 Saturn SL-2, which we bought used in April 2002, and a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country van, bought new in June 2004. We average about 15400 miles/year combined for both vehicles.

For our Saturn:

  • We’ve put 38,927 miles on this vehicle, averaging 7658 miles/year.
    We’ve spent $3324 on gas, $4227 on maintenance (inspections, oil changes,
    tires, but not things like the cost of the vehicle, insurance, and registration), for a total of $7551, or roughly $1485/year over 5+ years of ownership.
  • We have bought 1571 gallons of gas, with an average price per gallon of $2.115.
  • Over 5+, we’ve averaged 24.77 mpg. Our cost per mile is 19.4 cents
    per mile
    (based on actual price of gas paid).

For our van:

  1. We’ve put 23,306 miles on our van, averaging 7823 miles/year. We’ve
    spent $2988 on gas, $1341 on maintenance, for a total of $4329, or
    $1463/year over just under 3 years of ownership.
  2. We have bought 1253 gallons of gas for the van, with an average (over
    just under 3 years) price per gallon of $2.384.
  3. In just under three years, we’ve averaged 18.60 mpg. Our cost per
    mile is 18.6 cents per mile (based on actual price of gas paid).

If all gas purchases were adjusted to my most recent gas
purchase price—$2.959/gallon, which is also the highest price we’ve paid this year—our cost per mile would be 22.8 cents per mile for the Saturn and 21.7 cents per mile for the van.

The lowest price we’ve paid this year is $2.229/gallon. Adjusted to that price, the cost per mile would be 19.8 cents per mile for the Saturn and 17.7 cents per mile for the van.

So, the 73 cent rise in gasoline prices translates to 3 cents per mile for the Saturn and 4 cents per mile for the van.

Looking at that another way, it’s about $230/year more in gas for the Saturn and $300/year for the van, over $500/year more combined.

Advertisements