How Much Are You Spending Per Mile On Your Car?
Car mileage is one of the biggest factors to consider when buying a car. The amount of miles a car has is good information for purchasing a car. But How Many Miles Will I Drive This Car is a more important question. Will you drive this car for only 20,000 miles? Or will you drive this car for 100,000 miles? A car costs more than what’s on the sticker price.
So when figuring out how much you’re actually spending, you need to consider all of these other expenses, so that you can figure out how much you’re actually paying for your vehicle. Here’s a detailed article varying the differences between a car that costs $0.13 per mile vs a car that costs $0.55 per mile.
Enter Some numbers below to see what you’re paying for each mile. And post your Cost Per Mile to see who’s got the most efficient ride.
- How Many Total Miles Will I Drive? This is the all important question. Are you a marathon driver? Or a sprinter? Do you drive your cars to collapse? Or do cycle through cars seasonally? Depending on your answer, the more miles you put on you car, the more cost effective it becomes.
- How Many Miles Will I Drive This Car Annually? This question helps determine about how many years you plan on owning the car, which helps decide how many recurring, annual fees, such as insurance and registration, you need to consider when figuring out your cost per mile.
- What is the Total Purchase Price Of The Car? I’ve run many scenarios, and this is the most influential cost when figuring out your cost-per-mile. You can buy something that’s got great gas mileage, or you can skimp out on expensive insurance (like I do). But it doesn’t matter. What you pay for your car, including monthly payments, down payments, and taxes, is what is going to influence your cost the most. So when car shopping, beat the hell out of that sticker price.
- What is the annual insurance cost for the car? This is interesting, because it’s on a sliding scale, which you control. You can either get minimum coverage, or full coverage. But here’s something to consider. If you buy beater cars (like my 1997 Mazda Protege), then you should definitely go for minimum coverage. And here’s why. The amount of money you save in the long run is more valuable than the value of the car. Think of it this way. If you get in an accident, and total your car, how much would an insurance company pay you? My 1997 Mazda Protege is only worth about $1200. So, if I get in an accident with full coverage, I’ll only get a check for $1200. But, if I got for minimum coverage (I pay $30 per month for minimum. Full coverage is $100), then I’m saving $70 per month. So once I have this car for 17 months, the amount of money I saved will be greater than the value of the car. But, if your car is worth a lot more, then you’ll have something to chew over.
- What is the annual repair, registration, inspections, and maintenance cost for the car? This number is a complete guestimate. Sadly, you’re never going to know or foresee what maintenance problems you’ll have. This is what makes buying a car so risky. You can hand over thousands of dollars, and get a car that doesn’t meet your expectations. Luckily, there are a few consumer protection laws in place to help protect buyers. But you still need to do your due diligence to make sure the car is as advertised before you buy it.
- What is the gas mileage for the car? We all know about gas mileage. And we typically keep this cost in mind. But it’s tough to put an actual number to it. The number this calculator comes up with is based off the 2016’s average cost of gas ($2.64).
Assessing the Financial Numbers
I’m in a personal situation where I would certainly enjoy a new car. I do a lot of canvassing, and spend more time in my car than I’d actually like to. So although I’m cramped in what is currently an antique sports car (1997 Mazda Protege), that cramping is actually saving me valuable dough in the long run. And here’s why:
- I do emphasize expected mileage, BUT… even if you plan on driving for only 10,000 miles or for as much as 200,000 miles, the price tag still ultimately determined how much you pay per mile. Let’s consider that you bought a brand new car for $20,000. And let’s say you plan on driving it until it breaks down at 200,000 miles. At those consideration, you’re going to spend $0.26 per mile over the span of 13.3 years. Now, if you reduce the amount of miles to only 20,000, then you’re going to pay $1.15 per mile. So, contrary to what I was going to imply, there is a radical discrepancy in cost per mile when you increase the expected miles per car.
But here’s some additional items you’ll need to take into consideration.
If you buy a brand new car, and only plan on owning it for a few years, then you could expect to have less maintenance expenses. But if you plan on owning a car for a long time, then your annual maintenance expenses are certainly going to increase. So, that’s where the judgement calls are required, because you don’t know if you’re increased body temperature requires a thermometer, or if spending less on insurance and maintenance makes it worth while to own a hot new set of wheels.
But regardless what you choose, it’s a decision you’ll need to live with. Some people justify the expensive purchase by saying their job depends on them having a new care. And other’s just seek guilty pleasures, and aren’t financially concerned like most of the minds that frequent this blog.
So regardless of which camp you reside in, let it be known that if you buy a brand new car, then I do judge you as foolish. But don’t take my judgement a something that you should compare you life to. Because ultimately, we’re all just trying to get by the best way we know how.