The other day a friend of mine offered me a special deal on buying a new Chrysler car or truck. (Of course, the Viper, Challenger, Wrangler 4 Door and Grand Cherokee SRT8 are excluded, and I really can’t blame Chrysler for doing that.) I really appreciate being included in this offer, and just might take them up on it.
But, a couple of things have come to mind. First, I must like the hybrid or flex-fuel options on any car or truck I choose. My car is five years old, so it has lots of life left. I’m not going to trade my 35 mpg small car for a Charger, as much as I want one.
The bigger question, though, is in the $2.99 gas deal. At first glance, this sounds really cool. The folks at Freakonomics, however, are casting a bit of doubt on the value of this offer. Clearly they didn’t have my gas bills when I was commuting to work every day. So, let’s do a little math, and then I’d love to hear your opinion.
If your commute is 15 miles one way (and that’s conservative in sprawling suburbs, massive metro areas, and even in rural communities!), and your car gets 20 miles per gallon, you’re using 1.5 gallons of gas each day.
- At roughly $3.70 per gallon, you’re spending $5.55 each day in gas.
- At $2.99 per gallon, you’d spend $4.49. More than a buck less each day.
The guys at Freakonomics make the point that when you’re buying gas every 1-2 weeks, you’re much more keenly aware of price changes. I’ll argue that I’ve spent a lot of effort in reducing my debt and my spending, and that buck-a-day has an impact on my budget!
Most people work 50 weeks out of every year. That means 250 commuting days each year. Since the gas savings is more than a buck ($1.06, specifically), that’s saving me $265 a year just in my home-work-home commute. Now, let’s add in shuttling kids, running errands, and my husband’s herculean commute. Now we’re talking serious savings.
Yes, there is a limit on the $2.99 gas, but I can’t find any hard numbers. Anyone care to share that with me?
Then, more importantly, is $2.99 gas worth it to buy a Chrysler hybrid vehicle? Like, oh… say… the Aspen two-mode hybrid, complete with cylinder de-activation? Yeah, it has a Hemi®, but still only gets 13/19 mpg according to the EPA. Check out this comparison of the “standard” Aspen against the E85 version, again, courtesy of the EPA. Basically, the standard model gets 13/19, but when running on E85 output can be as low as 9/15 mpg. These numbers are for the 2007 model. The base model is some $33,000, and can go as high as $45,000 for the hybrid.
It’s so confusing saving money and trying to save the environment at the same time!