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More Car Savings

September 16th, 2020 at 02:18 pm

I will probably do another post, but I don't wanna. Life continues to be absurd.

Rather just talk about the car, it's nice to have a distraction.

I do think it's worth sharing perception versus reality. I should probably continue to share these things as they happen.

The other day I was wondering if car expenses would fall off our "Top 5" annual expenses. I looked back at 2017/2018 as better comparison years because we only had 2 cars and they were both gas cars.

Holy Cow... This is how the numbers are shaking out:
2017 - $6,299 (fuel/insurance/maintenance/tags)
2018 - $7,025
2020 - $3,000 (estimate for all of 2020)

We are saving roughly **$3,000 per year** switching to all-electric driving.

But... "It's 2020. You haven't driven much?" You say? Well, I *doubled* my commute end of 2018 and I still have my commute (which is the most of our household driving). & it will cost a whole whopping $200 per year to fuel the new car (if even that, am erring on the aggressive side). I expect same/better for 2021 ($3,000 total car expenses for the year).

That's cutting our expenses in half while driving significantly more. 🤯

I honestly have no idea what our #5 household expense will become. I glanced at it and wasn't coming up with anything else big. Utilities and Misc., which are broken out into a lot of smaller sub-categories. Will figure it out at the end of the year.

MH's friend just thinks we are giant idiots. I know is what most are thinking. I suppose I don't care, I am used to it. We are used to making unpopular decisions that just make our life better/easier.

This guy has the same gas car as MH (40mpg freeway). He is just, "NO WAY were you spending $1,000 per year on car gas!" 🤣 Seriously, how hard is it to spend $83/month on gas? With our gas prices? This guy is single and childless. He clearly has no concept of how much MH drives kids around. (Also, all those short trips were knocking the mpg down closer to 25 mpg). FWIW, we drove the gas car 8,000 miles last year. That was probably a less than average year, as we both preferred to drive the hybrid if at all possible. But it was the only car available for MH/kids' commute, and is also the car that MH took to LA. I am sure there were many other times we needed two cars or both had to be somewhere.

In other news, MH/DL did their father/son trip last weekend. After being told several times by friends/relatives with electric cars, that the car basically uses no fuel to drive back down to the valley from Tahoe... I was wondering how much fuel it would take to get up the hill though. In the end, they only went about half way, stopping at the family cabin. MH could have gotten a free charge but he hadn't used up enough electric fuel to bother. Mental note: Don't fully charge the car before that trip. He also wanted to leave room on the battery in case it did generate more charge than it used. In the end, did get some crazy #s coming down the hill but was probably only a 25% - 50% improvement (round trip) over a more average drive. The downhill did use very little fuel. The uphill used a lot of fuel. But the downhill more than made up for the uphill. Once you netted it out though, it wasn't anything terribly exciting. Especially once you factor the cost of electricity and figure you might have saved a quarter. 😁

What is interesting is that the weather was mild and the terrain was entirely different than any other driving we have done. MH drove 150 miles and had 110 miles left when he got home. So... It sounds like 260 miles is the true range. If we have gotten that twice on two entirely different trips. Entirely different terrain, weather, etc. Electric cars are weird like that. The quoted range (manufacturer) is 238 miles. Our long trip average is 260 miles. Our shorter trip average will be far above that (more range). Though the range is more relevant/important on longer trips so I understand erring on the side of driving faster/longer to come up with the range. I am sure we could come up with 238 (the "official" range) if we sped and blasted the heat.

That reminds me, MH had to make a couple of trips to take kids to school. Both times was coming up with -0- miles used. Clearly there is *some* fuel being used on these shorter trips, but too small to register on just a couple of trips. Miles driven: 10 miles total, divided by two trips. (Reminder: braking regenerates energy. It is possible that trip generates as much energy as it is using). It seems moot. At this rate, MH's employer will close up shop and kids won't be back at school until they are both licensed drivers. The electric car is made for those infinite 6-mile roundtrips that MH was making. I just don't know if those trips will still be made. We are obviously happy with freeway and long range performance: silent drives that cost pennies. It just would have been interesting to see what kind of a range we could have gotten with MH's average driving, pre-pandemic.

In other news, we sold the gas car. Another post for another day. The day before we sold it, a neighbor's tree fell and missed MM(17)'s car by inches. Also, we had a fire too close to home and black ash was raining from the sky covering the outside cars (was more significant than the general infinite rain of grey ash we have been experiencing). I feel great relief to have less "stuff" to manage. Would have felt great relief regardless, but it wasn't a good week for the outside cars.

8 Responses to “More Car Savings”

  1. crazyliblady Says:

    I have heard the batteries in electric cars are very expensive to replace. Do you know if this is true?

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    @crazyliblady - it can be very expensive to replace a battery. But there are used battery options. Also, it's probably rare that you would replace a battery. I am not concerned because of the whole *saving $3,000 per year* thing. That leaves $30,000 for battery replacement after 10 years, which is most likely not going to happen. (Most of that savings is fuel savings, but repairs/maintenance are also extremely low on an electric car. I think the trade-off is fine if the *one* big repair you might have is a battery replacement).

    I have friends and relatives who were first generation EV buyers. (MH's uncle has a 20-year-old Honda EV, still on the original battery). Chevy Volts have been around since 2007 and have a great track record. We didn't do much research on the newer Bolt. We were happy with the Volt track record, the similarities to the Bolt, and the warranty. (The Bolt is a much newer car without a long-term track record to look to).

    This is probably the #1 question I get. I have a *car* friend who thinks we are insane. It's kind of deja vu to buying older cars (gas cars). So... I saved a bajillion buying used. There's no way the potential repair costs would ever compare to paying an extra $20k for very specific brand new car model. It's kind of the same math. I am saving a bajillion dollars, I am okay with taking on a little risk in exchange (the risk in either case, is small). The math would be *very* different for different car models, that said. Ours personal *shrugs* about the battery is more about the car models we chose versus electric cars in general. We would happily keep both of these cars for 15-20 years and wanted something with more longevity potential.

    I believe the battery warranty is 8 years per manufacturer but is 10 years in our state. I did mention in an earlier post that we have better warranties than most of the rest of the U.S.

  3. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    nice. So i get the electric car savings, but I realized we've had 10 years of car payments (shudder) because it made "financial" sense. But now I'm good just driving our cars.

    But here's the thing, I see the savings in buying a used electric vehicle. What about all the people who ask why not buy a model 3 tesla? Does that make sense? Did you consider that? And why not new for tax credit?

    I haven't done enough research to know but I like our minivan and decided after paying it off just now that I'm done with car payments for at least 3-6 years so I hope it lasts. And yes we could replace DH's legacy with a tesla 3. But he drives $1200/year before, it would take years to be able to gain back the value of replacing it with a tesla 3. The cost difference would be prohibitive. Assuming the absolutely cheapest model $37990 + 10% taxes and $1200 doc fee = $42989 and then registration we're looking at $43k. That's more than we've ever spent on a car. So assuming we save $3k/year we need at least 6 years to break even on a $25k/year car. Any cheaper used car including the car we are driving now means longer to break even. Model Y is $49990 so $58k to buy with taxes, fees, registration. That would make it harder to break even.

    All used model 3 start around $40k+. So it's still pretty pricey. I can't figure out how to make it work. Unless we buy a volt or other used Electric vehicle. Which makes sense just not right now. Might as well run what we have into the ground.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    Shoot, I have to correct my comment. I could have sworn that car our relative had was a EV, but it is a hybrid of some sort. I do know some first generation hybrid buyers who still have their cars and are going strong (20+ years later). Admittedly, there was a lot of "That's stupid, the batteries are expensive" on those cars too and probably why I got confused.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    @LAL - There's nothing that makes sense about buying a car we can't afford in the slightest. No one has asked me why we didn't buy a Tesla. It's not a car choice in our circles. Anyone I know who is buying a fuel-efficient car to save money is more interested in the practical and buying more practical/affordable electric or hybrid cars. I expect our "in debt to their eyeball" friends don't have money-savings high on their list and/or are EV/hybrid ignorant.

    I've blogged before, but we do not make enough income to use the new car tax credits. We are not eligible whatsoever to use the credits. (You have to have $7500 tax to offset the $7500 credit). I didn't even bother looking at the #s because it is so N/A for us personally. I also think some of those have expired, but I don't have any motivation whatsoever to keep up on the latest new car tax credits.

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. All Federal tax credits have expired on Chevy electric cars and also for Tesla.
    (I just looked up out of curiosity).

  7. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    No a lot of our friends point out that we should have a model 3 instead of our subaru legacy. That it "makes" sense and is cheaper than a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. Which is probably true if you hold it longer but at the same time I am leaning more and more towards buying a used car so then the difference of new versus used makes a huge difference.

  8. MonkeyMama Says:

    @crazyliblady ~ I saw an interesting discussion on this today. It's the #1 question I get, so I came back to this post to update.

    I had a quote for an engine replacement on my gas car in the 1990s. It was ~$2,500? (It was a 20yo Toyota). & that was very affordable independent mechanic. Just saw this discussion come up in my EV group and a lot of the more car mechanic types were just... "Dude, have you priced a gas car engine or tranny replacement lately?" I guess it's gotten very expensive over the years, re: more modern cars. They are just, "If a car battery cost $10K, so would an engine or tranny replacement." Wow! I had no idea! They also pointed out that re: our EV, you might replace a bad cell, but probably wouldn't have to replace the entire battery.

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