I was thinking about the cost per kilometre metric provided by Fuelly. Mine is presently $0.15c / km. And it got me wondering, what would that metric be, if it included all the non-fuel costs of running the car?
These costs are fairly easy to define: they include the initial cost of the car, plus annual costs (insurance and registration) plus ongoing maintenance + other costs (parking, if you lease a car spot, toll roads, etc).
It would be, in my opinion, incredibly valuable for Fuelly to provide a metric that incorporates these costs: what you might call a "total cost per mile (or km).
Obviously once you had this data other metrics could be easily provided = such as "total cost of ownership per month, per quarter etc".
How would this information be used? I can think of a few cases. Firstly someone wanting to compare the costs of running their car against the costs of the alternatives - public transport, a Zipcar-type service, or a lease-car, this data would be able to provide a meaningful useful comparison cost.
Similarly, someone considering a local journey - wondering should I take public transport of drive the car (I did this today), it would be interesting knowing the actual cost per kilometre of driving.
I recognise this wouldn't be trivial to implement, but I think it would potentially be a great feature for Fuelly.
We have been thinking about this quite a bit. My feeling right now is that we're not going to go in this direction. Our mission right now is to get as many people possible tracking and thinking about their fuel economy. Anything we add to the site that distracts from that could hurt what we're trying to do.
Total cost of ownership is an interesting problem, but it's a much bigger problem than tracking fuel economy. If we move in that direction, fuel economy simply becomes one piece of information to track in the total cost of ownership. It changes the character of the site significantly.
There are desktop apps out there that do this. I don't know of any online/social apps that do it. Maybe instead of building this ourselves we could find a way to work with existing total cost of ownership applications so that you're not tracking fuel in two places.
I think the overlap between people who use Fuelly and want to track every aspect of their vehicle is probably fairly high. But I don't think branching out to total cost of ownership means more people thinking about fuel economy overall. Total cost of ownership requires more work, more attention, and more commitment from users. I think it'd be a worthwhile project for someone, but I don't think it's quite right for Fuelly.
Fuelly should look into doing an overall statistic page for the entire garage, as a sum. With totals for all miles, fuel, costs, etc. Nothing fancy. Also have the option of including retired vehicles too.
Edmunds already does a "true cost of ownership" for vehicles....let's not re-create the wheel here If you getmy drift lol. I agree, the value of this site lies in getting as many people as possible to use the site, and contribute valid data to it