terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Car math May 12, 2008

Filed under: cars, energy — terra @ 7:00 am

Here’s a math problem. I’ve been thinking about how efficiently my vehicles get me to work. Here we go…

My husband and I have a Honda Civic Hybrid, a Suzuki Grand Vitara, and a Genuine Buddy scooter. Gas will cost $4 soon, so we’ll just say $4.00 is the price of gas. This is how far we can go on one gallon of gas:

Civic – 42 miles
Suzuki – 16 miles
Buddy – 98 miles

My daily commute is 8 miles, so I can drive to work this many days for $4.00:

Civic – about 5
Suzuki – 2
Buddy – 12

Essentially, I can drive to work 2 days in the Suzuki for $4, or I can fill up the Buddy for $4 and drive to work 12 times. (My husband takes the Civic now, since I take the Buddy.)

I drive to work about 20 times per month, which costs $40 in the Suzuki, and about $8 in the Buddy.

A monthly bus pass costs $50 – for endless miles around Akron!

What’s your families’ car math?


11 Responses to “Car math”

  1. Jean from 'The Rogue Nation' Says:

    I go about 28 miles per day round trip for work. I go to work 1 day for more than $4!

    I drive a Honda Element.

    It’s 14 x 2 = 28 miles to work and home per day.
    I get 24 mpg. I could probably save a lot if I turn off my car at stoplights but there are no stoplights on my route to work.

    I think I seriously need to take a look at a scooter. Great post for the brain to digest Terra. A true eye opener thats for sure.

  2. Jean from 'The Rogue Nation' Says:

    Oh, I did want to factor in the monthly shock at what I am paying in gasoline just for going to work and back, not to mention going to the store.

    I am paying about $20 a week in gas for work only and about $80 a month for work only! That is $960. a year! Crazy!

  3. terra Says:

    The Suzuki’s been really good to us. Totally reliable – never breaks! But, I think its time is up. With the Fit, Yaris, and Smart getting 35-40+ mpg, we may be making the switch. We’re looking into the alternatives, of course… electric, biodiesel, etc.
    Any suggestions?

  4. ada Says:

    hi terra
    nice post. it gets ppl thinking about things.

    i’ve mentioned previously that i drive a mini cooper. it’s a 2006, but the newer ones get upper 30’s on the highway.
    our other vehicle is a 2002 honda crv. it gets around 26 on the highway, though is used mostly for city driving to and from work. it’s not great mileage, but as far as suv’s go it’s pretty good and i think it is average with cars.
    when the mini is paid off in late 2009 or so, we have 6 months to a years to save up a down payment for a new car.
    we’re looking at…
    another mini!
    i almost hate to say it. i think it would be weird to have two of them, but then if we had 2 civics i wouldn’t think anything of it. so why should it be different for minis?
    you had mentioned that their coming out with diesel for the u.s.. from what i have seen, diesel minis get even better mileage.
    also, and this is where we’re seriously going to look, there is a rumor afoot that their coming out with an awd mini crossman. nothing is confirmed and we’ll wait to see, but it’s rumored for 2010 or 2011.
    the mpg won’t be as good, i don’t think, as the current mini, but my wife feels more comfortable driving in northern ohio with an awd during the winter. if there is a mpg hit, i would think it still much better the the crv is getting. we’ll see.

  5. terra Says:

    Thanks Ada.

    Our Suzuki has 4WD, and we put winter tires on the Civic, and the Civic was much MUCH better to drive in the snow than the 4WD. Just something to think about.

    The diesel Minis get awesome mileage! And, you can hook up with someone who makes biodiesel and run it on veggie oil (at least for the summer!).

    I think that “miles per gallon” goes right by people. When you really think about the miles, it adds up quick! It shouldn’t cost $4 to drive to work. With the car loan, insurance, and now gas, soon we’ll actually save money by not working!

  6. Matt Says:

    My ride to work is 8 miles round trip – all on pedal power. The only way to go!

  7. Matt Says:

    On days it’s not raining and reasonably warm (above 40F or so) my bicycle gets me the 1.5 miles to work for free! On those other days, my Prius gets about 45 mpg so I can get to work about 30 times for $4. I sure wish I could plug it in though…

  8. terra Says:

    (those are 2 different Matt’s)

    I wish I could ride a bike to work! Too hilly. Those electric bikes are looking pretty nice.

    Today I drifted down the hills as much as I could to reduce my gas use.

  9. ada Says:

    i wish i could find that link again. you know how it goes…browsing around and one thing leads you to another…
    anyway, i was doing just that, andi came across this article where a study was cited. it said that if the electricity is generated with coal then plug-in hybrids actually produce more carbon than straight hybrids, and less carbon if the electricity is green (and i personally do not consider nuclear green).
    but that is the interent. just because i read it doesn’t mean it’s true.
    maybe this is like all those studies on caffeine. it’s good for you. it’s bad for you. it’s good for you. it’s bad for you.

    well…i think i am going to ride to kent state just because it is so nice outside. i am on vacation : )

  10. terra Says:

    I know all about those mystery links. I get them all the time!

    Here’s a chart that shows the carbon emissions of electricity use vs. oil use. Gas cars emit 452 grams of carbon per mile, and plug-in hybrids emit 326 grams of carbon with an old coal plant. The comments under the graph are good too.

    Enjoy your vacation!! It’s beautiful outside.

  11. ada Says:

    thanks terra! that’s not what i had read, but it’s actually more informational.
    i like how it gives the numbers for numerous sources of electricty, and how all coal generated electricty (unless they trap the co2) means that the plug in hybrid actually is worse co2 than regular hybrid.

    the bike ride was really good. cool enough so i didn’t get too warm on the exercise, and warm enough that i didn’t freeze in the shorts and t-shirt.
    just riiiiight

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