Hannah Goes Fishing

A Fishing (and more) Blog

Accounting for Myself: Fall Update


Remember last spring when I said I would start keeping track of my transportation costs?  I thought with these changing seasons that it might be time to have an update on how my gas expenditure tracking has been progressing.

The short version: pretty well.

The long version: pretty well, though my truck is currently debilitated in the driveway, awaiting a new fan that will (hopefully) be arriving tomorrow.  Apparently cars are built with this uncanny sense of when it would be absolutely least convenient to be stricken with a cataclysmic episode of (in this case) “fan explosivity”, combined with a crippling case of “hole-in-my-radiatoritis.”  Thankfully, I am blessed with Tom who is not only dashingly good looking, but extremely talented in the mechanical diagnostics department.  He has been able to circumvent what would have otherwise been some extremely expensive labor hours and minimize repair costs to simply replacing parts. Remind me to find him an excellent set of wrenches and a hand massage for Christmas…

Anyway, my truck sits idle for now which has given me some time to calculate out my total gas expenditures and miles driven for the year thus far.  Let’s start with some official (Internet) statistics about my vehicle, and compare them to my own calculated averages (please note: these are not even slightly scientific).  I drive a 1994 Toyota Pickup XtraCab.  It’s a 6-cyclinder, and is equipped (not by my doing, mind you) with 16-inch rims, a glass-pack (exhaust system), and bitchin’ sound system (this last part isn’t quite so relevant, though may speak volumes (har!) about my driving habits). I estimate that I drive between three and four thousand miles every year, half of that during the snowy/icy months of the year.

Official average gas mileage (between city and highway driving): 14 mpg
My calculated average: 13.27 mpg. 

Hey!  That’s pretty good! Especially considering that half the year my truck is in four-wheel drive and plowing through snow, ice, and whatever else our freezing climate throws on the road.

Yearly average price of gas (for me, in Fairbanks): $4.06/gallon

Yup, gas in the Great Land is pricey!  While gas fluctuates between $4.20+ down to $3.60 and I’m lucky to have Safeway gas discounts, it can still be at least a $55 venture to fill up my 16ish gallon tank. I won’t even both to convert that price into liters as individual countries/states/provinces have their own taxing systems for fuel, and I don’t want to represent the price to be lower than it otherwise would be.

My calculated average miles/tank of gas: 228 miles/ 367 km
Total amount spent on gas in 2012: $567.15 (so far)
Total miles driven: 2050.5 miles (so far)/ 3,300 km

So, what does it all mean?  Well, essentially it boils down to the fact that I spend $0.28 per mile that I drive here in Fairbanks.  Compared to Tom’s vehicle (a 2004 Volkswagen Golf, with 2-wheel drive) that probably gets close to $0.13 per mile,  I am left to conclude that my truck is certainly NOT the most economical vehicle I could be driving.  Add that to the mechanical problems an old vehicle like mine frequently experiences, it would be worthwhile considering a new(er) vehicle.


2 thoughts on “Accounting for Myself: Fall Update

  1. It's an interesting exercise to determine the costs of owning and operating a vehicle but one that will likely frustrate you as it does me. When you, as the conscientious person you are, add in the environmental costs you would be advised to park your car and walk. My motorcycle gets about 85 mpg but driving it up there is a non starter. hahaGood luck in the coming Ice Age that Fairbanksans call winter, Hannah. 😀

  2. Your truck is approaching the 20 year mark when buying something newer makes more sense in just about every way. However, working up the money for a new(er) vehicle sucks. I feel you there!Have you figured out the total gas you've used? The average American uses about 550 gallons of fuel for transportation. It can be kind of fun to calculate your own usage and see how much lower it is. 🙂

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