Maintaining a vehicle in the current market...

I take pride in the things I have worked hard for. I also take pride in supporting and not supporting things that are important to me. Most of you know if you have read my blog that I encourage sustainable growth and respect for how nature is supposed to work.

A big part of this is why, a few years ago, I bought a vehicle that I could run on Biodiesel. As people change to this "alternative" fuel it is becoming more and more profitable for investers to produce biodiesel from whatever means they want. (Actually, Rudolph Diesel originally intended for his engine to be powered by vegetable sources. It's a sad story how the powers that existed at the time profited on his invention.)

As with any valuable resource, many investors are doing what they need to in order to profit off of it. I have read about the clearing of land for crops that will be made into alternative fuels. In a way it is sad that many who intend on using locally (same country) made fuel are inadvertently destroying some of which they care to maintain.

I am glad that my biodiesel station (Dr. Dans Fuelwerks) gives me the power of knowledge that the fuel they use is created from what would otherwise be waste from existing soybean crops used to feed livestock.

Because of the efficiency of my car, I have determined that it costs (under worst mileage conditions) $0.25 per mile with the current price of Biodiesel (which I buy as credit in bulk doses of 100 gallons) at $4.90 per gallon.

Learn your MPG's! Calculate your mileage when you fill up and it's easy. Have a pen and pad of paper in the car (which you should have anyway for emergencies) and make a note of the miles you have gone since your last fill up, and note the amount of gas you filled up with. If you keep doing this on a regular basis, you will be able to get a good estimate of your mileage. Then divide the # of miles per gallon by the cost of your fuel and you will know how much (on average) it costs for you to drive a mile.

This is handy for me since I work part time and drive 36 miles per day. My worst case average is $9.00 daily for gas.

Since I am an excessive planner, I plan it out per year. I drive 3 days a week, which is 156 days per year. $9 daily times 156 days is $1404. per year for fuel at the current price. That is roughly 13% of my income. If I were to make any changes, it would be based upon these calculations.

It is important to know this number! I do not drive nearly as much as many people do, so it is a matter of possibly transferring job locations, you could save thousands! At my last job I would have been spending triple the time driving and quadruple the money on fuel. That is to say nothing of insurance, time wasted while driving, the danger of driving, the pollution it creates, the oil industry profits....It was not worth it for many reasons.

It also helps to "drive for mileage". James has this handy dandy electronic device that plugs into his truck computer (or any vehicle computer) and can monitor just about everything you could ever want to know! He is able to save on gas by knowing how to operate his particular vehicle to get the best mileage. Considering the prices of gas, this device has paid us back dearly. I would recommend looking into what it can do for you. I will have to look into where it was purchased, let me know if you are interested.

The "grand" plan is to ultimately not to make more money, but to be able to live less expensively. Essentially, to be able to sustain ourselves and make our own power. Solar power is something we hope to do in the future.


Krista said...

I'm glad your doing this now. I plan on following your example if I ever purchase a car again.

Dawn said...

The geek in me is intrigued by all of the math behind this, so thank you for breaking that down so neatly!

Personally, I've gone on a "no driving except when we have to" strike, which means that we drive to the grocery store (managing groceries on the bus is tough for me) and when we go to our friends' house twice a month (they don't live near enough to a late night bus route for our needs). We keep the car for those trips and emergencies, and that's it.

ReeesaT said...

Wow! This is so incredibly informative :)

I wish more people put a little more time and effort in "going green". It is my opinion that some people just hop on the latest fad, and don't really think about the true impact.

Great post!