Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gas Tank Blues

Janis and I were talking the other day about her commuting costs. She drives a 2000 Land Rover Discovery. We bought it new and have always loved it. Even though it weighs about as much as a Sherman tank (come to think of it, it drives like one, too), it's a high-quality vehicle that gives you a sense of invincibility. It'll take you right up the side of Mount Pisgah, road or no road, and let you wear a tuxedo to boot. And it's versatile enough that it can serve as a carriage for four, or can be loaded up with bushes and fertilizer from Reems Creek Nursery. Ours has been very reliable, too. And ever since new, it has gotten a steady 16.5 mpg on premium gas. Best of all, it's paid for.

Now with gas at $4+ per gallon, commuting to work is starting to get expensive. We were thinking of getting a Honda or something that gets around 30 mpg. Since the Land Rover is such a good car, we don't want to get rid of it; rather, we were looking at getting an older, sacrificial commuter scooter to lower our gas bill. Besides, the trade-in value for an 8-year-old Land Rover with 135K miles is in the toilet.

Then I got to wondering just how much the POS commuter car would save us. Big bucks, probably, since it should get over double the mileage and use cheaper regular gas to boot. So I ran some figures using current gas prices and discovered that we'd save - are you ready for this? - about $70 a month in gas. That's it. Subtract maintenance and insurance costs and we'd be lucky to break even, even if somebody gave us a car.

Oh, well. Nice thought. We'll just keep the Tank and drive it as little as possible.

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