Vehicle Fuel Economy Comparisons

I drove a VW Jetta last weekend are really liked it.  I hate little cars, but this is one of the few I’ve even been in that I liked.  I seemed to ‘feel right’.   So that experience and the obscene about of money I’m spending to keep quadzilla fed in 93 octane has me considering a more reasonable daily driver vehicle.  The era of cheap dino-fuel is over.

Being a chart-geek, I decided to look at the situation from a few different viewpoints.  A few things I found interesting:

  • At $4/gal fuel, driving 300 miles/wk, and upgrading to a vehicle that gets 28MPG better economy translates to a savings of $3640/yr.  $5/gal fuel would increase the savings to $4550/yr.
  • I could ‘save’ the most money if changing vehicles to a more efficient model if I drove more miles per week than I do, and chart 2 shows that distance is the most influential variable.  BUT, it also means I can save the most by simply not driving as many miles.  Staying home pays off, and it pays off even more when you drive a gas guzzler!
  • Chasing maximum MPG efficiency doesn’t pay off very well.  You get a nice savings for the first 15 MPG increase, but it starts to flatten out quickly.  Driving 300 miles/wk on $4/gal fuel, an increase of 10MPG gives a yearly savings of $2364, 20MPG increase gives $3250/yr, 30MPG increase gives $3712/yr, and 40MPG gives a yearly savings of only $4000.
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