Well, I tried to borrow the Jetta from work (6 speed turbo) which would have averaged more like 35 the whole trip but because he 'might' find a buyer this last week he refused to let me borrow it even though it's just sitting there(he wants about 5k more than it is really worth) not being used and fiscally speaking renting an econo box or flying between the 3 towns wasn't great.
In the past I've shown coworkers the math that proved getting an economical "beater" (just cuz it can be bought cheap doesn't automatically mean it's a POS) paid for itself in much less than a year and after that it was all gravy. Unless one lives in an urban environment with no parking available for another vehicle, I don't know why anyone wouldn't do that.
Old EPA 23/33/27
New EPA 21/30/24
Excellent it's always fun to beat the EPA numbers by a wide margin. Been doing that with my vans as often as possible. I managed to get Grumpy to pull 22.9 mpg on my ScanGaugeII yesterday heading home from work.
Maybe one day I'll get an econobox for commuting, but since I have three vans currently my wife isn't letting me bring anything else home.
This vehicle works for me. It had stupidly low mileage on it for the year (just hit 40k at it was 9 years old) and it was in my price range. Unless I own two vehicles I would have to give up my weekend activities because I can't get where I need to in a car without tearing it up. If I was just a city dweller that didn't ever goes off the highway I'm sure a Mazda 3 hatchback would be perfect for me, but that isn't the case.
I'll admit, I didn't need the 5.9 and I could have probably done okay without the 4wd but at the time I purchased this thing the better the mileage the higher the price. 2wd 5.2 was an extra 1.5-2k premium. Even smaller SUVs were more expensive.
Hell, a decent condition Suzuki economy car at the time ran 6-7k.
I also have to enjoy what I drive. If I buy a crappy beater I won't enjoy it and I'll end up driving the Durango a lot again. That's what happened with the Rebel, I didn't enjoy driving it to work in traffic so instead of 85mpg 5 days a week it got reduced to 3, then 2, then I just stopped riding it except on the weekends.
So yeah, I COULD do better but it is a cost I don't feel like having right now and didn't feel like having then. Especially with my move coming up.