CARS: The Real Cost – PART 2 : FUEL

The cost of fuel adds up fast, and the deep effect on personal finance is a no-brainer: how far that effect reaches is just a step away if you follow along!

As a teenager in the 90’s I drove a 1970’s muscle car; I bought it when gas was under $1 a gallon.  By the time I sold the car, gas was $3 a gallon.  It was costing me $15+ to drive downtown and back (about and hour and a half of driving!) Thankfully, I later got a small 4-cylinder Toyota; I could drive 7 hours down the highway without refilling the $20 tank of gas!

While Gas prices do vary
the cost of fuel is what it is… 
it’s something quite variable…

Sure, just like you, I’ve got the need for speed.  But if the sacrifice is too large, it might change our minds forever. Let’s look at the real cost of bigger, hungrier engines over a lifetime…

The average commuter probably uses a tank of gas per week. That’s 288 miles for a 4-cylinder car, and that mileage will be our barometer as we examine the pain and sacrifice involved in throwing petrol in the tank: (based on $3 per gallon average)

All gas tanks are not created equal: the bigger the engine, the more gas is typically hauled to fuel that machine:

V-4   / 32 miles per gallon average   / 9 gallon tank = 288 miles
V-6   / 21 miles a gallon average   / 13 gallon tank = 273 miles
V-8   / 15 miles a gallon average   / 27 gallon tank = 405 miles

 V-4  : $27/week —  $108/month — $1,296/year – 12,960/decade — $103,680/ 80 years

V-6  : $41/week —  $164/month — $1,968/year – 19,960/decade — $157,440/ 80 years

V-8  : $57/week —  $228/month — $2,736/year – 32,832/decade — $218,880/ 80 years

The difference between driving a V-4 and a V-6 over a lifetime is $53,760

The difference between driving a V-4 and a V-8 over a lifetime is $115,200

The opportunity costs are even greater. (because the potency of Compound Interest on new capital is reduced as years pass by, so we will approximate this loss very conservatively by just multiplying by 2):

V-6 costs an extra $107,520 over a lifetime

V-8  costs an extra $230,400 over a lifetime

This is a staggering number if we divide by a decent income of $35,000:

V-6 costs an extra 3 YEARS OF WORKING LIFE!!!

V-8 costs an extra 6.5 YEARS OF WORKING LIFE!!!

          If you drive a big-block V-8 that might be a tough lump to swallow: it might be time to plow through the Auto Trader ( and remember before you buy a used car – it might be worth paying a mechanic to really look the car over before you buy it.  Otherwise, the gas-guzzler problem means the next 6.5 years of work life pays for gas related loss only! For the love of Pizza!

Let’s keep moving through this 6-part Car Cost article, at the end of the series, we’ll pile all these numbers together and explode our skulls with the outrageous expense for big fancy cars!

SAGA can save your friends! Feel free to like and share!

One Response to CARS: The Real Cost – PART 2 : FUEL

  1. audi 920 1938 says:

    I hope it will be a lot of intersting material on this site) good luck

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