How to save a lot of money

Good news: You can save a lot of money easily! Here’s how it works:

Go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=browseList (for the US or Canada) or http://www.spritmonitor.de (for Europe) or a similar site where car drivers can enter data of their cars and their tank fillings. Search for similar cars like yours (same engine/power/cylinder capacity, same year of manufacture), look for the average and also for the lowest fuel consumption of these cars (maybe also for the highest).

Let’s take the 2004 Toyota Prius. The average range is 46.3 mpg but the best is 62 mpg! Even if you do are not the perfect eco driver, you might be able to achieve 60 miles per gallon.

Suppose you are typically driving 20,000 miles a year. That’s 20,000/46.3 = 432 gallons of fuel for the average 2008 Prius. Now let us do the same calculation for the fuel efficient driver: 20,000/60 = 333.3 gallons. Considering a price of 1.7 US $ per gallon, that’s about $165 less (870.5 kg less CO2) per year. Not too bad!

What about the 2004 Ford F150 Pickup 2WD 8 cyl 5.4 L? Average mpg is 15.3, worst is 12 and best is 19 mpg. For 20,000 miles a year, that would be 20,000/15.3 = 1,307.2 gallons in average or 1,052.6 for the best driver. Difference is more than $432, so you should be able to save more than $400 (2.25 metric tons CO2) per year (and even more if you are used to driving at high speed and/or with too low air pressure in your tires, or if you use your car instead of your bike for getting fresh rolls in the morning)! For just a fraction of the saved money, you could buy a good computer racing game. Or do indoor cart racing once a year.

For those of you living in Europe, you will save even more (as fuel prices are a lot higher than in the U.S.). In my case, for about 20,000 km (12,427 mi) per year on a Toyota Corolla Combi 1.6 (station wagon), I achieved 5.7 liters per 100 km (41 mpg) in average, compared to 7.5 liters per 100 km (31.4 mpg) for the average driver. With a fuel price of 1.39 EUR per liter (5.25 EUR per gallon), I saved about 500 EUR (and more than 800 kg CO2) per year compared to the average driver, or twice as much compared to a driver that prefers an F1 driving style.

And this is the "car" I am using for short distances, including shopping in my home village – saved me another 100 EUR (plus the fitness center fees) and 160 kg CO2 per year:

Shopping Bike

One Response to “How to save a lot of money”

  1. your buddy Says:

    Howdy Bernd –
    you concept is most sound, and should work well in either EU and other very urbanized settings where there are excellent rail, public transit, short distances, and relatively low crime.
    Outside of civilized Europe, your options are not practical.
    When I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for instance I initially has an apartment in the "near city" approx 8 miles away "as the crow flies" from my job. For daily commuting I could choose to walk, ride my bike, take a bus, or drive my car.
    For shopping I could walk to local small "mom and pop stores" but they were over twice as expensive as driving to the larger Supermarkets.
    At that time the walk took about 1.5 hours, bicycle took about 35 minutes, bus took about 1.5 hours, and car took about 30 minutes.
    The disadvantages of walking and biking were that they were dependant upon fair weather and I arrived "untidy" and smelly. The bus ride required a ride downtown then back out and three transfers, and was nearly always too full to get on. I would often take a bus as far as I could (perhaps half way) and walk the rest of the way.
    In a white collar job, one really does not have the option of arriving messy, smelly, or late, or leaving early just because of weather or bus schedules. Further, if one needed to work late, it was impossible to get home without a car. At the time, crime in Minneapolis was not an issue.
    Later I moved even further away since I could not afford to buy a house in the urban regions, and my fellow workers and I all had one-way commutes of perhaps 35 miles.
    Now crime is a very real concern. When I was young and stupid I had no worries, practicing Kung Fu and Aikido three times a week. After age 50 one comes to realize that one is not Chuck Norris.
    Nowadays in the U.S.A. one way commute distances to work of 35-50 miles are the norm, and many exceed that, especially in California, Colorado,
    Texas, or any major urban city like Chicago, L.A. Denver, Wachington DC, Seattle, New York, Miami, etc. Thus bicycles are not a valid option, nor is electric as the range is not sufficient.
    The nearest shopping is at often 20 miles from home, and Urban areas are literally unsafe, due to transient beggars, professional beggars, drunks, hookers, drug dealers, and muggers. Police Services are spread very thin and in this economy getting thinner. Nearly All police agencies in the U.S. do not guarentee any response time, and in fact there have been court cases that demonstrate that Police Services are not required to (and do not provide) protection to citizens – their job is to respond to and investigate crimes after the fact.
    Before you decide that the U.S. is the only scary place on earth, look into the crime in Argentina, Brazil, parts of SouthEast Asia, and all of Africa. Police there often do not show up at all.
    I am still looking for an affordable used diesel to run on used Vegetable oil, but "for some reason" all but luxury cars are banned from import, as are *many* good milage foreign imports 😦
    Thus there are few alternatives to a private gasoline fed Auto. Yes we do shop to find the most affordable, best milage vehicle available, but as they say "you mileage may vary" 🙂
    I would love to change the situation, but as you can see, we can’t even change our perverted health care mess. I fear that greed prevails at high levels and it is very difficult to fight and change.

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