The last time I calculated the total cost of car ownership for my Camry I came up with a cost per mile of $0.84 if I counted the entire cost of my car as depreciation and $0.28 cost per mile if I used a more realistic figure for depreciation. I’ve driven a lot of miles since then but with my car already being a high mileage car those miles should not cause much depreciation. Therefore my new cost per mile figures are quite a bit lower.
As of today my car has cost me 35.6 cents per mile if I value my car at $0. Using a more realistic figure for depreciation my cost per mile is 16.9 cents. I doubt I will be able to get my total cost per mile much lower than that since fuel alone is almost ten cents per mile. Also there will be maintenance and probably repair bills coming up. Even if I don’t reduce my cost per mile it is still a lot lower than the IRS figure of 50 cents per mile. It is clear to me that driving a used car is much more frugal option than buying new. You would have to drive a new car an awful lot of miles to get the cost per mile down to what mine is.
Of course, one of the reasons that my cost of car ownership is so low is because I drive a lot of miles. While this lowers my cost per mile it means more money coming out of my pocket. For both financial and environmental reasons I would like to reduce my miles driven. My wife and I are now sharing the car so it is getting even more use although the miles should go down now that I am starting a regular job.
One thing that I didn’t consider when considering my total cost of car ownership is the fact that my employers reimbursed me for many of the miles driven. Also, the miles I have driven for mystery shopping are deductible. If I were to factor that in my cost per mile would be even lower. That is more math than I want to do though so I will just keep the figures as they are.