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Old 09-05-2009, 12:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
You're getting quite decent fuel economy from the Mustang GT. I'm going to guess that you only use the Accent for that commute, and the Mustang gets longer trips?

Given the same route and driver, I'd expect a little bit more difference, but maybe not a lot. If you drive with fuel economy as at least a vague afterthought then you'll shift the Mustang pretty low and the manual transmission will be a HUGE advantage.
Sorry! Got a little long...

I was comparing "substantially identical" driving. I say "substantially identical" because errands and weather can vary day to day, Although I primarily use the Mustang I have used the Accent through a couple of weeks worth of driving on several different occasions,

In the Mustang I usually take off in second unless its uphill. Shifts vary according to gradient but I usually progressive shift ie 1-2 1300 rpm, 2-3 1350 rpm, 3-4 1400 rpm, 4-5 1450 rpm. The car has more than enough power to avoid being run over at those low shift points.

Just for giggles I checked the Mustang this tank with me driving and the Accent with the Lady of the House driving.

Mustang 100% City - 20.65 mpg (Very little AC Use but no FE Techniques)

Accent 100% City - 21.25 mpg (Its always like this when she drives) She got 19.63 mpg one tank when it was hotter. When she drove my truck she got 11 mpg. I got 14 mpg City and 22 mpg Highway.

Considering an old Dodge Diplomat 318 Auto can get 31 mpg on the highway (60 mph) and a 1984 Mazda B2000 5-Spd Manual can get 30 mpg in Town I just expected more out of the Accent. Heck, I had a 1995 3/4 Ton Dodge (Cummins) that used to get 22 mpg in town.
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Old 09-05-2009, 01:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
[B]In the Mustang I usually take off in second unless its uphill. Shifts vary according to gradient but I usually progressive shift ie 1-2 1300 rpm, 2-3 1350 rpm, 3-4 1400 rpm, 4-5 1450 rpm. The car has more than enough power to avoid being run over at those low shift points.
You shift like I do. It's quite effective.

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Considering an old Dodge Diplomat 318 Auto can get 31 mpg on the highway (60 mph) and a 1984 Mazda B2000 5-Spd Manual can get 30 mpg in Town I just expected more out of the Accent. Heck, I had a 1995 3/4 Ton Dodge (Cummins) that used to get 22 mpg in town.
It gets hard to compare against old vehicles. Vehicles are heavier today than ever; and they've got more power per pound. A big old car that weighs no more than your Accent and doesn't have much more power has good reasons to get almost the same fuel economy.

Also, American V6 and V8 cars tend to have taller gears than found on other cars, which really helps their highway fuel economy.

In the 1980s cars got very efficient, and in the early 1990s even more so. Then everybody got tired of driving cars that were shrinking, getting lighter, and getting less powerful. CAFE requirements were part of the reason the cars got that way, and so came the minivan, which landed in CAFE's truck fleet and provided the functonality previously found in the dying breed of full size station wagons...then people wanted more masculine station wagons so they got SUVs instead. In the meantime, cars had to be beefed up to compete with that.

Add all the safety requirements and the average consumer's complacency about fuel economy, and you get 3000 pound compact hatchbacks with 170hp and a 22mpg city rating. The Accent is lighter and less powerful than that, but it may suffer from a smaller-than-average engineering budget.

Sorry, you got me going off on a rant too.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:31 PM   #13
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This is why I am pretty disgusted with the auto industry SINCE 1985. Their only concern has been selling enough Chevettes/Metros/Aveos or Neons or Escorts/Aspires to meet CAFE. They have let the fuel mileage of their smallest cars remain stagnant.

I always go back to the same handful of examples so I'll pick something else this time, everyone hates hearing about the '86 Lynx 4-speed I used to own.

1988 Toyota Pickup 2WD, 2.4L, 4-speed, 21 city, 25 highway
2003 Toyota Tacoma 2WD, 2.4L, 5-speed, 20 city, 25 highway

1988 Honda Civic DX sedan, 1.5L, 5-speed, 28 city, 34 highway
2003 Honda Civic DX sedan, 1.7L, 5-speed, 27 city, 35 highway

STAGNANT. Even the Japanese automakers aren't immune to APATHY evidently.

It gets harder to find 15-20 year old cars as time goes on. More of them get wrecked, abandoned, sold for parts, stripped to repower go-karts, etc...

I would take any mid-80s econobox over any modern econobox any day. I don't care about safety, comfort, gadgets, electronics, or anything else. If I'm buying a small car it's for one reason and one reason only. TO GET THE MAXIMUM ECONOMY FROM EVERY GALLON OF FUEL!

Economy doesn't always take the form of MPG. As it has been said in this and other topics, there is no economy in buying a NEW vehicle to save fuel. A new Yaris priced at $12,000 that gets 35mpg average would have to be driven 840,000 miles in order to BREAK EVEN over a $2,000 '95 Tercel getting 30mpg average.

THAT IS NOT A TYPO.

Calculation is based on $2.50 a gallon in fuel. Calculation does NOT include the higher insurance, registration, and financing costs. Calculation assumes you pay cash and use liability insurance only. Calculation makes you wonder why ANYONE would SPEND money to SAVE money.

Let's take another example. You're driving a 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis POS with 200,000 miles on it and you're getting 18mpg. You want to buy a new Fit to average 36mpg (might be a stretch but we'll be generous). It would cost you $15,000 to buy the new Fit. How many miles before you break even assuming no other variables (because we are SCIENTISTS and we only test ONE variable per theorem, RIGHT?)

216,000 miles.

That's right. The Fit may last to 200,000 miles just fine. The Mercury may darn well make 400,000 miles. Why spend the 15 grand? You could replace the engine and transmission and rear axle and brakes and shocks and tires and radiator and all sorts of other bits on the old beast, maybe improve your mileage into the low 20s...and you STILL wouldn't spend HALF of the cost of the new car.

*shakes head at people throwing money away*

The cars I own now...

$200 for a '76 Torino wagon for parts for my sedan
$250 for the Trans Sport minivan that gets high teens to 20-22ish.
$355 for the Torino sedan that gets mid-teens.
$1700 for the Durango that gets high teens.

There are no other 8-passenger vehicles that can do much better than 17-19mpg. The Durango is an anomaly, many don't see over 15 but we have no trouble getting better than the EPA ratings.

The Torino is my baby, it's not a commuter. Get me a 302/AOD in there and it will be.

The minivan is my beater at the moment, it already has close to 300K (245K showing but the odo hasn't turned in 4 years) and it can't depreciate any more than it has. $250 is scrap value for the thing and it runs, drives, passes inspection, and even has a working radio and cold air. Why buy something else?
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:35 AM   #14
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To occupant;

You points are perfectly valid, and my comment is not meant to be a criticism in any way.

My recent purchase of the 2001 Echo for $3300 represents a compromise between your examples of the extremes.

It has averaged 53 MPG as my daily commuter and allowed the Insight to enjoy a semi retirement position. At current fuel prices here that is less than 4cents a mile in direct fuel costs.

Now when you use your calculations the difference in mileage can be justified as a reasonable offset to the increased purchase price.

New cars are a loosing proposition, if you are trying to justify the up front costs with fuel savings. The math just doesn't work. An additional fact is the interest cost of the new purchase, versus the interest earned from the same funds in a decent investment or used to reduce overall debt burden. That's a definite negative versus a real positive. It also doesn't consider the financial advantage of reduction in overall debt to assets ratio and the better interest rates available to those who have significant net worth and better credit ratings.

Additionally 20 year old cars require you to be at least reasonable competent as your own mechanic.

The cars from the mid eighties were, in my opinion based on 60,000 hours of experience, some of the worst nightmares to maintain and repair. Way too many vacuum hoses, servos, and emission controls that were improved dramatically as the fleet adopted fuel injection and 3 way catalytic converters with feedback fuel controls.

In fact the Echo has exactly two vacuum lines compared to 50+ on a 1984 Civic that I bought brand new.

The newer cars, at least in the base models have much cleaner (less cluttered) engine compartments and much of the service and repair intensive components have been eliminated completely.

No distributor, or carburetor, as well as many times cleaner emissions and lower fuel consumption is all available with specific models like the Echo.

I like my Echo so much that I might sell the Insight if gas prices jump and it's value rises accordingly. It would follow your logic of overall cost accounting of all the relative costs of operating the vehicle. I am just choosing the newer option.

In the last 2 months my fuel consumption in the Echo has averaged under 7 gallons a week, for over 350 miles distance. Latest price here is $2.279 per gallon of fuel.

Even that small amount of fuel cost me nothing, because I chauffeur my 88 year old father around and he fills the tank for me. He laughs when I show him how I hyper-mile to save fuel, but he also got 31 MPG highway in his 2001 Cadillac Eldorado on a recent trip.

Again please do not take this the wrong way as any criticism. You probably spend less per mile overall according to your math. The difference for me is I have the cash to spend up front on a more expensive car and usually loose very little or any of that initial investment when I resell that same car at a later date.

The other advantages of my position is lower yearly fuel consumption and radically lower overall emissions.

regards
gary
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by occupant View Post
1988 Toyota Pickup 2WD, 2.4L, 4-speed, 21 city, 25 highway
2003 Toyota Tacoma 2WD, 2.4L, 5-speed, 20 city, 25 highway

1988 Honda Civic DX sedan, 1.5L, 5-speed, 28 city, 34 highway
2003 Honda Civic DX sedan, 1.7L, 5-speed, 27 city, 35 highway

STAGNANT. Even the Japanese automakers aren't immune to APATHY evidently.
You were more merciful than I am when I provide that type of example, or you stumbled on more stagnant data. I usually find that the newer same model gets significantly worse fuel economy, not merely the same.

Quote:
I would take any mid-80s econobox over any modern econobox any day. I don't care about safety, comfort, gadgets, electronics, or anything else. If I'm buying a small car it's for one reason and one reason only. TO GET THE MAXIMUM ECONOMY FROM EVERY GALLON OF FUEL!
An admirable goal, but not a good fit for most people.

Quote:
Economy doesn't always take the form of MPG. As it has been said in this and other topics, there is no economy in buying a NEW vehicle to save fuel. A new Yaris priced at $12,000 that gets 35mpg average would have to be driven 840,000 miles in order to BREAK EVEN over a $2,000 '95 Tercel getting 30mpg average.

THAT IS NOT A TYPO.

Calculation is based on $2.50 a gallon in fuel. Calculation does NOT include the higher insurance, registration, and financing costs. Calculation assumes you pay cash and use liability insurance only. Calculation makes you wonder why ANYONE would SPEND money to SAVE money.
With merely the difference between 30 and 35 mpg, that certainly could add up right. Do you have the rest of the math to back it up? Does it include repair costs, rental/cab fare/other alternative/lost wages during downtime, and more frequent replacement? How many miles per year are driven?

It is fully appropriate to include the higher insurance, registration, and financing costs.

People who buy a new (or newer) car instead of an old one don't do it to save money, although fuel economy may be part of the calculation; people do it so they're not driving an old car. Their motivation for not driving an old car varies; vanity, professional image required for career, need to reliably arrive at work every day, drive through dangerous areas where a breakdown could be hazardous, not any good at fixing stuff, can't find a good mechanic, or just willing to spend the money on the luxury of driving a newer car.

Quote:
$250 for the Trans Sport minivan that gets high teens to 20-22ish.
$355 for the Torino sedan that gets mid-teens.
$1700 for the Durango that gets high teens.
Some people are good at buying a $300 car that gets them to work every day. Other people can spend $1700 on a very carefully selected car and have it break down weekly. I want to learn how you $300-lucky folks get the job done. I would love for my next car to be $500 or less and get me 38 miles to work in reasonable comfort every day.

There are plenty of scenarios that support buying a new or newer vehicle with purely monetary logic or including other necessities. I was in such a situation before, and luckily I am not anymore. My VW will be replaced with a beater in 2011 (or sooner if the used car market makes it possible). I have no regrets about the car and I quite like it but I'd like to get out of it for something cheaper ASAP. It is beating the expectations that I had for it; I did not expect to get anywhere near the fuel economy that I get, and it is not costing me any more money in maintenance than expected.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:17 AM   #16
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Basically it comes from being a good home mechanic
Drat. I lose.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:07 AM   #17
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Basically it comes from being a good home mechanic and knowing what to look for.
That's a dying breed. Of ALL the friends I've had over the last 5 years I can only name 2 that have even the slightest idea of how to fix cars and only me and one of them have enough experience to be able to rebuild an engine without instructions. Nobody else knows how to even change the oil. Heck, I'd say the vast majority of guys I've known don't even know how to change a flat tire!

Then you have the mechanics I know but don't consider friends. I'd rather rebuild an engine in the middle of a dust storm than trust them to do it in a clean room.

Welcome to the world of 10yr/100k warranties!
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:01 PM   #18
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Then you have the mechanics I know but don't consider friends. I'd rather rebuild an engine in the middle of a dust storm than trust them to do it in a clean room.
There's one shop in a hundred I actually trust to touch my vehicles here.

The difficulty with doing your own, is attempting to appear just not quite competent enough to your family, extended family and wider social circle, such that you're not doing every freaking oil change... but unfortunately they inevitably get screwed over once in a while and your conscience makes you jump in and save things.... though with cars and computers there's a couple of time I did flat out refuse to help, that's because they asked for my opinion and I said "Don't buy it, run away!" and they bought it anyway.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by R.I.D.E. View Post
My recent purchase of the 2001 Echo for $3300 represents a compromise between your examples of the extremes.

It has averaged 53 MPG as my daily commuter and allowed the Insight to enjoy a semi retirement position. At current fuel prices here that is less than 4cents a mile in direct fuel costs.

Additionally 20 year old cars require you to be at least reasonable competent as your own mechanic.

The Echo has exactly two vacuum lines compared to 50+ on a 1984 Civic that I bought brand new.
Hey Gary, I paraphrased some of the items above to reply, and I agree with you, your car is a great fit for you, you spent a fraction of the cost of a new car, get better FE, and you like what you have enough to even consider selling an INSIGHT of all things.

So with this all said, I personally would have gone one generation back to the 95-98 Tercels but that's only because I simply can't stand the center-mounted speedometer on the Echo. I paid $3300 for a used 1995 Geo Metro in 1998. It's a good price for a car, and it's right at the sweet spot of the depreciation curve. Once you go below 33% of the new car MSRP, and you keep the car nice, it's still worth about that no matter HOW old it gets! Case in point, there are two Cavalier for sale near me. Both 2000 models, both coupes, standards, red in color, with about 120-130K miles. One had the snot beat out of it. That's $800. The other looks showroom new. That one, of course, is $2800! And if it were on a dealer lot, think more like $3995 or MORE!

Older cars do require a DIFFERENT kind of attention. It isn't necessarily more or less attention. A newer car, things are a bit more technical. An older car, they are simple, but they still have to be attended to. Vacuum leaks, like the big hissy one that I hear in the dash every time I shut my Torino off, are not fun to find.

Electrical problems are even worse. I would hate to chase down a short in the computer wiring of a modern car. Had a horrible driveability problem in a 1989 Celebrity in 2003, took me nine hours one day to work on it, two of those hours with my head wedged under the dash to figure out why it could run that bad with no check engine light! It had to be computer related. Then after much multimetering and wiggling, I found ONE yellow wire broke loose from the solder joint in the plastic connector to the back of the computer. Looked fine from the outside and didn't wiggle, but wasn't making a connection. Fixed that one wire and it not only got rid of the driveability issues, but my speedometer started working again, my radio stopped popping, and the AC blew cold from that day on. ONE WIRE for all that?!! I'd rather have glass fuses and fusible links. Those are easier to diagnose!

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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
You were more merciful than I am when I provide that type of example, or you stumbled on more stagnant data. I usually find that the newer same model gets significantly worse fuel economy, not merely the same.
That's because I picked Hondas and Toyotas this time. And as much as I don't like Hondas and Toyotas, I must not have spent enough time to find larger discrepancies between aged models.

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I want to learn how you $300-lucky folks get the job done. I would love for my next car to be $500 or less and get me 38 miles to work in reasonable comfort every day.
Abandoned car auctions, police impounds, Craigslist, eBay, word-of-mouth, and keeping an eye out for the same car sitting in the same spot for more than about a month, as that car isn't being used and they'd probably rather sell it cheap than update the plates and inspection!

That and I check even the cheapest cars over with a fine-toothed ratchet. No sense spending good money on a beater only to have a blown head gasket. I failed to fully check out a $300 Celebrity in 2006 and ended up losing big time and only getting a few hundred miles out of it.

Quote:
With merely the difference between 30 and 35 mpg, that certainly could add up right. Do you have the rest of the math to back it up? Does it include repair costs, rental/cab fare/other alternative/lost wages during downtime, and more frequent replacement? How many miles per year are driven?
You know what, I did mess that up a bit. The miles needed to overcome a $10,000 difference in price with a 5mpg difference would only be 4000 gallons of fuel. I had used 20,000 (a 1mpg difference). So it would take 210,000 miles to make it up. The question is, how much will you spend in maintenance and repairs over 210,000 miles on both vehicles? To keep your warranty active on the Yaris, the Toyota dealer will be happy to bleed a few grand from you during the warranty period. The Tercel will probably need at least one engine rebuild unless you find a really pristine one with perfect compression. And that might be a $3000 Tercel. But it would be CHEAPER to buy another $2000 Tercel and take some bits from the first one to keep the second one going before you scrap the first one. Or if you want to stay ahead of the game, put 50K on the Tercel, sell it for $1500, buy another nice low mileage Tercel, run 50K on it, etc etc.

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Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
I've scored free vehicles from friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, and even from strangers online. I got a very nice $75 car at a sheriff's auction. I don't flip em either but I could and probably should as I have way too many vehicles sitting around doing nothing.
In Texas, one is limited to selling five vehicles a year without a dealer's license. Five in my name, five for my wife, so ten vehicles a year. It takes 2-3 weeks to get a title in the mail (during which I am cleaning and cleaning and fixing and whatnot), and 2-3 weeks to sell a car at a somewhat firm price. It's what I intend to do to save up to start my own car lot within a year or two. Works out perfect and I like the impound auctions.

Anyone reading this who is thinking of Googling for car auctions, forget about it. It's a sea of spam and scams. Just pick up the phone and call all the wrecker services near you. Ask them when their abandoned/impound car auctions are. If you strike out, call the cops. No, not to report them for not following state procedures for disposing of impounds, I mean for you to ask THEM when the impounds get sold. They'll tell you which wrecker service or storage facility or auction service handles it, and probably when and where.

Now some abandoned car auctions are online, like that Waco one I mentioned in another thread. And they put out about 30 cars a month, not bad, but take the Dallas impound, they sell 200-400 cars WEEKLY. But it's in person at the impound yard itself every Monday morning. Fort Worth does it every other Wednesday at the impound yard, too. Make some calls, it's easier than trying to sign up for some $39 book that tells you where the auctions WERE ten years ago!
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