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Old 08-14-2008, 10:37 AM   #1
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Secrets to Better Gas Mileage Program ... help raise ECO awareness!!!!

Please read this thread and help to raise awareness out there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was shopping for a more fuel efficient car, I made an Excel program to factor in all the costs, do MPG comparisons, decide whether a new hybrid made sense for me, etc. I figured this would be helpful to others to use as well. You can figure out whether or not spending money on a modification is worth the investment, see what kind of money you could save if you got a certain MPG, and whether or not buying that new more fuel efficient car makes sense financially.

Below is an example of what it looks like and a link that goes to an active spreadsheet program. You can make changes to it to for your needs. It's very easy to use, just follow the 4 steps and it will do all the math for you. You can also save it to your own computer by clicking the "export" button at the top right area.


Click here to view the program "Secrets to Better Gas Mileage"




I'm also going to put this on Digg.com to get more awareness out there. Please make sure to digg it here: CLICK HERE TO DIGG THIS ARTICLE AND RAISE AWARENESS Then click the DIGG icon at the top left (make an account real quick, only takes a minute).
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2007 Vibe (base-5 speed man)
MODS = Added CC, 15% Tint, New wheels, Nav/DVD, Polk speakers, Infinity sub/amp, Console Outlet,
MODS = ScanGauge II, Perm. alum. grill block, belly pan, Removed antenna, Tire pres. 44 psi
Future MODS = Removable lower grill block, Clear fog covers, 195 deg. therm, Rear spoiler, Full belly pan
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:37 PM   #2
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It's interesting to note that if you drive the average 15,000 miles per year ... increasing your MPG from say 32 to 35 mpg will only net you about $13 in savings per month. This is about 3 gallons of gas per month, which equates to about $156 per year in savings. This will obviously go down if you drive less, which is why this excel sheet works well to track your costs.

Increasing your mileage by changing from a huge SUV from 10mpg to a mid size car that gets 20mpg, will save you a lot more than going from a gas car that gets say 25mpg to a hybrid that gets even 50mpg. The cost savings aren't usually there unless you do huge miles.

I figured that I would have to drive over 40,000 miles a year to make it even compared to a Vibe (using average combined EPA mileage estimates ... and that's if I bought new). I would have to drive over 60,000 miles per year to justify a new Prius over my used 2007 Vibe that cost $11,800.

I'm also using this to determine if mods I make will be economical or not and to determine the ROI (return on investment) while figuring the impact of using less gas for the environment of course.
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2007 Vibe (base-5 speed man)
MODS = Added CC, 15% Tint, New wheels, Nav/DVD, Polk speakers, Infinity sub/amp, Console Outlet,
MODS = ScanGauge II, Perm. alum. grill block, belly pan, Removed antenna, Tire pres. 44 psi
Future MODS = Removable lower grill block, Clear fog covers, 195 deg. therm, Rear spoiler, Full belly pan
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:00 PM   #3
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this would be a fantastic tool for anyone from high schoolers to senior citizens be it school or financial assistance. anyone considering buying a vehicle would benefit from it.

i like how hypermiling is touched on in the program, and considered safe driving.

the only thing i would add is some thoughts on used vehicles.
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bowtieguy View Post
this would be a fantastic tool for anyone from high schoolers to senior citizens be it school or financial assistance. anyone considering buying a vehicle would benefit from it.

i like how hypermiling is touched on in the program, and considered safe driving.

the only thing i would add is some thoughts on used vehicles.
Thanks bowtieguy. That's a good point on used vehicles and it's exactly why I decided to get a used 2007 model instead of going new. I couldn't justify the money to go new after looking at the numbers.

What would you suggest I touch on for used vehicles ... and where, maybe below the bottom tips?
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2007 Vibe (base-5 speed man)
MODS = Added CC, 15% Tint, New wheels, Nav/DVD, Polk speakers, Infinity sub/amp, Console Outlet,
MODS = ScanGauge II, Perm. alum. grill block, belly pan, Removed antenna, Tire pres. 44 psi
Future MODS = Removable lower grill block, Clear fog covers, 195 deg. therm, Rear spoiler, Full belly pan
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:37 PM   #5
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Markmysite,

there are salary considerations and general do-it-yourself applications for example. i'm not certain you could impliment them in a program like this except to add them as comments. one could fill in a used car price, but the maintenance costs vary more obviously.

i believe 10% of one's salary is what financial advisors recommend. that 10% includes payment(if any), insurance, gas, and estimated maintenance.

sounds tough right? well consider housing costs...40% is the par. that is EVERYTHING: mortgage(rent), phone, cable(satellite),insurance, taxes, computer, etc.

now, if one is mechanically inclined, super deals can be had. my father once bought a vehicle that was totalled for $100. just a smashed rear door. he drove that car for several years after repairing it before selling it for a profit many times what he paid!

for the average buyer this is not feasible, but a car w/ minor cosmetic imperfections or perhaps needing some maintenance can be a cheap find on a limited budget.

how about "what do you as the consumer really need?" some people NEED a truck or SUV, most do not. will an economy car suffice, or a mid size sedan? etc, etc, etc

i think the point here is many of us over spend on vehicles and purchases in general. this program is what i support, consumer education.

where to put it? i'm not the smartest guy, especially when it comes to web tech.
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bowtieguy View Post
i think the point here is many of us over spend on vehicles and purchases in general. this program is what i support, consumer education.
This couldn't be more true. Buying a car is an interesting phenomenon in our country (and I am just as guilty as anyone else). We are dazzled by the slick commercials and print ads we see. Most cars look so perfect and shiny when new (they even shoot the ugly ones so they look good in ads). We also have to keep up with our neighbor who just bought that nice Lexus, etc.

Most people get bored with their current car in less than two years. So, we go out and start looking. Before long, we are looking at cars that were twice what we intended to spend and get sold into a "payment" instead of negotiation the purchase price. A lot of people even trade in their vehicle to the dealer and end up being upside down on that loan. But, car buying and negotiation techniques are for another forum I think ... heh.

Hopefully, others can find this program and use it like I did to make the right choice for their situation.
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2007 Vibe (base-5 speed man)
MODS = Added CC, 15% Tint, New wheels, Nav/DVD, Polk speakers, Infinity sub/amp, Console Outlet,
MODS = ScanGauge II, Perm. alum. grill block, belly pan, Removed antenna, Tire pres. 44 psi
Future MODS = Removable lower grill block, Clear fog covers, 195 deg. therm, Rear spoiler, Full belly pan
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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It's true. I sell cars and if we only sold cars to people that need them instead of want them we would be out of business.
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Old 08-14-2008, 04:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Greyg View Post
It's true. I sell cars and if we only sold cars to people that need them instead of want them we would be out of business.
Yep, my mom sold cars and did special financing for over 20 years (my step dad too). My dad manages a body shop, and my sister is a branch manager for a sub-prime auto financial loan company. My other sister's fiance is a finance manager and one of the buyers for his dealership. Ohhhh the stories I have heard on holidays about them bragging about buying a car at the shoot or low balling a trade in and then selling it for $5-$6 over to someone ... heh

Still, used cars are the only cars dealers make money now since consumers have too much info on the Internet today for new cars. It's got to be so much harder to sell new today (I would think anyhow depending on the brand).
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2007 Vibe (base-5 speed man)
MODS = Added CC, 15% Tint, New wheels, Nav/DVD, Polk speakers, Infinity sub/amp, Console Outlet,
MODS = ScanGauge II, Perm. alum. grill block, belly pan, Removed antenna, Tire pres. 44 psi
Future MODS = Removable lower grill block, Clear fog covers, 195 deg. therm, Rear spoiler, Full belly pan
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Old 08-14-2008, 04:48 PM   #9
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I did a similar Excel based trade study for a Systems Engineering class last semester. I didn't even start with new cars because I don't buy them anymore. All cars were four years old compared to a 12 year old Grand Caravan, which gets squat for mileage. But I also included utility of hauling people and stuff in the evaluation which the G Caravan has in spades. The Caravan won. So I've put almost $1,000 of tune-ups, alignments and other work into it. In four years or so, I'll re-evaluate.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:37 PM   #10
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I'm 37 years old, have never bought a brand new vehicle, and have never financed a vehicle. I know what I like, and don't buy until I find exactly what I want. That's why I bought Rusty. It looked like a new truck when I bought him in 96. He has all the options I would have ordered from the factory, and is even the color I would have bought. The only thing that is different from what I would have ordered is that I would have ordered a 350, rusty has a 305.

The guy selling him wanted a little more than I was willing to spend. I offered him $4,000 and left him my phone number. He called me a week later...

I still find it fun to drive Rusty. I never did paint the fender after I had replaced it, and now its got surface rust peeking through the primer. I feel it just ads to the overall experience of driving a 22 year old truck... I enjoy driving my Buick after owning it for ~17 years.

When I bought my 74 Chevy p/u I had a set of criteria that the truck had to meet. It had to be a Chevy, have a 350, ps, pb, at, the optional gauge package, run good, and have working a/c for $1,000 or less. I looked for months. Anytime I saw a truck that fit my physical requirements that was priced at $1,500 or less I'd go and look, and if I liked what I saw I offered $1,000 and my phone number if they said no. I bought my 74 Chevy 2 weeks after I test drove it.

I guess my point is know what you really want and need going into a vehicle purchase, establish how much you are going to pay, and stick to it. Don't get suckered by a "low" payment. Look at the total vehicle price. If its more than you wanted to spend don't be afraid to walk out - but make sure they have your number to call you back if they change their mind. There is a saying that Americans will buy anything as long as it has low monthly payments.

-Jay
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