Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not much of a driver

kw: observations, photographs, driving

Prior to moving out east, I had a 40-mile (1-way) commute. That came to about 16,000 miles yearly just getting to work and back. Now my commute is less than five miles, and it has taken me twelve years to put 111,111 miles on my car.

When the car was less than five years old, we also used it for a few road trips, but since then, we rent a car for anything more than a day trip. Another cause for the mileage to be only 9,000 miles yearly. It is even less for my wife's car, which is 21 years old and has 140,000 miles.

Our first reason for renting cars for big-miles trips was to have a newer, more reliable car on a road trip. Then I realized it is also economical. A weekly rental costs $300-$400 total, including fuel. The costs of owning a car, including insurance and ongoing maintenance and repairs (I just spent $515 for a plugged smog valve) comes to close to $1 per mile. If I can spend $400 for a car to go 1,000 miles, I've effectively saved $600.

There is a third reason for renting. We request various models when we rent a car, which makes for an extended test drive. With 12- and a 21-year old cars, we are always looking for a car to replace one of them when we decide maintenance is eating us up.

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