May 29, 2008

Look for a 4 cylinder engine instead of a V6 to save $ long term

I currently drive a 2004 Toyota Camry that I bought used about a year ago. When I was buying the car last year I specifically looked for a 4 cylinder engine instead of the V6. The 4 cylinder engine is plenty. Since I've owned the car I've never lacked power. I purposefully looked for a 4 cylinder since I knew it got better MPG and would save me money in the long run.

Over the Memorial day weekend I took a 4 day trip to visit family. It was 800 miles round trip. The V6 model Camry is rated at 29MPG and the 4 cylinder is rated at 32 MPG. So for that 800 mile trip the V6 would take 27.5 gallons and my 4 cylinder uses just 25 gallons. Thats a 2.5 gallon gas savings for my weekend. Before we left we filled up for $3.94 a gallon. So that 2.5 gallon difference between the V6 and 4cylinder is a $9.85 savings for one weekend trip.

If you look at a longer term I can estimate how much I'll save. The government Fueleconomy.gov website has a fuel economy savings calculator. WE can use it to see the long term impact. If I keep the car for 5 years and drive about 10,000 miles a year with 75% city and 25% highway and assume gas costs $4 then the 4 cylinder will save me about $783 over 5 years.

The 4 cylinder engine has more than enough power and saves me gas money. So if you're looking to buy a car that has options for 4 cylinder or V6 engines then I'd strongly recommend looking for the 4 cylinder option instead.

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