Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Math Says It's About Time to Dump the Old Car

Watch the video, above.

That said, and because math is confusing for most people (me too!), I will put the numbers down on paper:

  • If your car gets 10 miles per gallon it consumes 10 gallons to go 100 miles.

  • If your car gets 20 miles per gallon it consumes 5 gallons to go 100 miles.

  • If your car gets 25 miles per gallon it consumes 4 gallons to go 100 miles.

  • If your car gets 50 miles per gallon it consumes 2 gallons to go 100 miles.

What this means is that a tremendous amount of gasoline (and money) can be saved by getting low-mileage cars off the highway.

Getting one person to switch from a 10-mile per gallon car to a 25-mile per gallon car will save as much fuel as getting THREE people to switch from 25-mile per gallon cars to 50-mile per gallon vehicles!

And the numbers are even more dramatic if you are driving one of the most common cars on the road -- the ubiquitous Ford Explorer (what I drive, it should be said).

It turns out that you will save more gasoline (and more money!) by switching from a 15-mpg Ford Explorer to 25-mpg SUV such as a Ford Escape Hybrid (32 mpg), Toyota Highlander Hybrid (26 mpg), Jeep Compass (25 mpg), Jeep Patriot (25 mpg), Kia Sportage LX (25 mpg), or Saturn Vue (25+mpg) than you would if you switched from a 51 mpg Prius to a 94 mpg Prius.

Here's the math, assuming you are driving 1,000 miles a month:

    1000 miles / 15 mpg = 66.7 gallons
    1000 miles / 25 mpg = 40 gallons

    1000 miles / 51 mpg = 19.6 gallons
    1000 miles / 94 mpg = 10.6 gallons

Bottom Line: Upgrading from an 51-mpg Prius to a 94-mpg Prius will save you 9 gallons a month or 108 gallons a year. Changing from a 15-mpg Ford Explorer to 25-mpg SUV will save you 26.7 gallons a month or 320 gallons a year, or about three times what the Prius 1 to Prius 2 upgrade will save you. Multiply by the current cost of gasoline to figure the total dollar cost savings.

Of course, if you switch from a 15-mpg Ford Explorer to a 94-mpg Prius, the savings are even bigger: 56.1 gallons a month, or over 672 gallons a year. At current gasoline prices of $4.10 a gallon (gasoline prices are higher in California), that's a savings of $230 a month.

Assuming the new Prius costs $24,000 (what the current Prius costs) and your old Ford Explorer has a trade in value of $7,000, the monthly payments (60 months/6.9 percent interest) would be $362.00. Throw in the fact that the value of a Ford Explorer is likely to fall a lot faster that a new generation Prius (to say nothing of the cost of maintenance on a Ford Explorer with 60,000 miles on it), and you can see that we may be at a very rapid tipping point in U.S. automobile consumption, with a real decline in gasoline consumption to follow.

We are not talking about future technology here -- this is massive change that is on your local car lot right now.


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