Total Cost of Car Ownership Update

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.

Getting Rid of My Car

After much consideration I have decided to get rid of my car.  My plan is to get rid of it after my last final for the semester in early December.  Next semester I’ll only have class on Monday afternoons.  That is the only place I’ll really need to go.  I’ll be relying on public transportation to get there and anywhere else I want to go.  Since I’m living with my GF I should be able to combine any trip I need to make with our other trips.  I’ve been reluctant to give up my car because I haven’t wanted to get up early twice a week to take the bus to school.  Now that I will only have to take the bus once a week and not have to get up early to catch it I don’t have much excuse for not getting rid of my car.

I’m not sure whether I’ll sell my car or donate it.  My plan is to try to sell it for a low price and if it doesn’t sell then I’ll go ahead and donate it.  Since I won’t make enough money to itemize I won’t get any benefit from donating the car but I’d still like to see it go to a good cause.

Getting rid of the car won’t save me a lot of money because it has been paid off for a long time and I don’t drive much anyway.  I’ll save $20 a month on car insurance and and another $40 or so in gas and some more from not having to make repairs or pay taxes and registration.  I will have to pay for bus fare and I might have to pay something to be added as a driver to my GF’s insurance although I will rarely be driving her car.  My net savings should be somewhere around $60 a month.

Even if I get nothing for this car my cost per mile based on my purchase price alone is less than two cents per mile. I bought this car cheap and put over 90,000 miles on it. I didn’t keep complete records of my repair, maintenance, gasoline and other costs so I can’t figure my total cost per mile.  I am sure that it was much lower than average though.  Someone buying an average priced new car would still have a higher cost per mile than me even if they put a million miles on their car.  I definitely received good value out of the purchase of this car.