The latest Consumer Reports just arrived in the mail. Not surprisingly, it devotes lots of print to saving gas, most of which comes under the heading of conventional wisdom. Every now and then, though, CR comes up with something really original.
This time they’ve figured out how much a new car costs per mile-per-gallon. This is great stuff. They did it by dividing each car’s overall mpg into the price they paid for the car, as purchased for recent tests.
Seen in this light (the light of burning gasoline?), the Honda Fit Sport with manual transmission comes out on top. CR paid $15,765 for one of these; at 34 mpg, the thing costs you $464 for each mile per gallon.
Good grief! Makes riding the bus look pretty good, doesn’t it? Hey — it’s only two hours to work and two hours ten minutes back. Could be worth it.
The base model Toyota Prius, at $23,780, rates third in their list, fairly high despite the high price, because of the 44 mpg rating. Running one of those will cost you $540 per mpg. The Hyundai Elantra GLS, at the top of this month’s ratings among gas-saving sedans, costs $17,555 or $650 per mpg. Because the gas mileage is less than the Prius’s, the Hyundai theoretically costs more to drive even though its sale price significantly cheaper. The Toyota Yaris hatchback with manual transmission came up with the lowest price per mpg, a piddling $370, but CR tested this vehicle and found it wanting. As in “not recommended.”
Moving on, among used cars, you can (theoretically) pick up a 2000 Honda Insight with manual transmission for under 10 grand and get 51 mpg. The 2001-02 Prius also supposedly costs less than $10,000; it gets 41 mpg (note that not every consumer review of this vehicle can be called “glowing”).
La Maya just returned from the Imperial Valley with reports of $4.19/gallon gas prices, headed upwards. Her California relatives expect gas to be selling at $5 a gallon before long. The four-hour drive cost her $200 round trip in a Toyota Rav-4. Lordie!
Now that I no longer need the gas-guzzling Dog Chariot (a 2000 Toyota Sienna), I guess I should start looking at more efficient cars. Trouble is, I’d planned to drive it 10 years; I hate to use up my car savings to buy a new vehicle two years prematurely. Also, truth to tell a vehicle with some serious cargo space comes in mighty handy now and again. And for my old age I really, really wanted a sporty car. These gas-savers are frugal, that’s for sure. But they’re also boring, boring, boring.
I think what I should do first is calculate the real cost per gallon for my present car, using the newly learned gas-saving driving strategies (you actually can use your cruise control on a surface street, provided traffic is light and moving steadily, and it’s possible, within limits, to use it on an urban freeway). If it’s getting less than 20 mpg, I probably ought to start looking for another ride.
I have a Toyota Prius and it has certainly saved us a lot of oney on fuel compared to our last car. I am not sure how it compares to other hybrids or more up to date models but I am happyw ith the saving we are making.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 – 06:35 AM
Oh, how I covet a Prius! Want one of those things, want want want….
But I think I’d better hang on to the van for a little while longer, since I can telecommute and so don’t actually make that 36-mile (round trip) commute five days a week. Some people think those of us who have gas guzzlers had better dump them now or take out an application to live in the poorhouse. They may be right–in another couple of years the Dog Chariot may be worthless. But given the number of behemoths still lumbering around the street, I’ll bet there will still be some demand for a vehicle that can carry cargo and kids. I hope….
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 – 08:53 AM