Thursday, November 06, 2008

3 car family - still worth it with lower gas prices?

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For now, we are indeed a 3 car family.

This past week, we purchased a lovely 2006 Chevy Impala with 35,000 miles, in great condition. It was a fantastic deal. Something you don't often find. So we went with it.

I wrote about the potential benefit to being a 3 car family a few months ago, but those numbers were based on an assumption that gasoline would stay around $4.00 a gallon. Gasoline at my local gas station has been dropping several cents every few days, and now rests at $2.05. So it has me wondering, will there be any benefit to maintaining my 1996 Saturn as a third car?

We were pleasantly surprised to find that having 2 cars covered by the same insurance company would give us a discount (Jude's truck is covered by a business policy through another company). Turns out that having both the Impala and the Saturn with a multi-car discount essentially eliminates the cost of insuring the Saturn. Impala only = $436/6 mo; Impala and Saturn = $437/6 mo. So, In terms of insurance, we not really paying anything greater to keep a third car.

So, the cost to keep the Saturn per year, based on my previous post's estimates, should be about $210.00

Readjusting our fuel cost estimates based on $2.05/gallon, we get the following:

If Jude drove the Impala instead of the truck for 1000 miles, and the Impala gets about 25 mpg versus the truck's 13 mpg, then there would be a 12 mpg advantage, or saving 83 gallons of gas. That's $170.00.

If I drove the Saturn every week instead of the Impala (40 miles/week, for 46 weeks per year (vacation, you know?)) that's 1,840 miles in a year. The Saturn gets about 36 mpg . That would be an 11 mpg difference - 167 gallons saved, or $342.

A total fuel savings of $512.

Total cost savings - $302!

Interestingly, even if there were no unexpected insurance savings, we would still save a little money having 3 cars, based on the above scenario. It would only be about $60 at current prices, but even then, would probably have been worth it!


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