May 5, 2015

I've Paid About 48¢ Per Mile to Drive My Car

I've owned my car now for over 8 years.    In that time I've just now hit 70,000 miles total.   I paid a little over $14,000 for it in 2007 and its worth around $4000 today.

I'm estimating my expenses but I'm probably pretty close in my estimates.    I figure this is likely correct within 10%.    I just don't have detailed accurate records of everything I've spent for 8 years, so I'll have to estimate.

The depreciation I figured using the current private party sales estimate value from Edmunds versus what I paid originally 8 years ago.

I figured gasoline costs based on using historical numbers for our city off of     Those numbers are going to be a bit inflated since they're using the city average value and I pay below average prices for my gas.    For example right now the city average is about $2.90 and the station I go to has gas for $2.71.   

The costs for insurance, oil changes, tires, repairs & maintenance and taxes are all estimates based on my memory and there is more margin for error in these categories.  

Lastly I added a figure for the opportunity cost which is based on figuring 4% interest on the original ~$14,000 purchase price over 8 years.  I'm pretty sure I could have made 4% with that money.

Here's the summary of costs over the years and the totals :

depreciation  $     10,000
insurance  $       5,600
gas   $     10,182
oil changes  $          560
tires  $          500
repairs/maint  $       1,500
tax  $          400
opportunity cost  $       4,544
TOTAL $33,286
per mile $0.476

So the total cost there is $0.476 per mile or roughly 48¢.

Thats more than I'd have guessed.      

If I'd done a very quick almost off the top of my head calculation I think I'd have come up with about 30¢ per mile cost.   That would have been based on the $10,000 in depreciation, figuring "a couple thousand more for other stuff" and then guessing a price of $2.70 for gasoline.      I would have underestimated the cost of insurance and the opportunity cost.   And I apparently remembered the price of gas wrong over the past eight years, most likely because my memory is biased towards what I paid last week for gas more than 7 years ago.



  1. I kept exact records of the cost of owning my 97 Camry from when I bought it in October 2009 to when I traded it in in May 2012 and the total cost came to 16.8 cents per mile. I didn't include opportunity cost but I did include all the other costs you counted plus car washes and parking. My lower cost per mile was mainly due to a lower purchase price and lots of miles driven each year.

  2. Andy,

    16.8 cents is very good.

    Driving more certainly helps keep the average cost/mile down. I don't drive too much really. If I drove twice as much I figure my average would be at about 34 cents.



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