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costs of driving to work

Mark Greenaway expresses surprise that someone could spend $8000 per annum on petol.

I own a 1999 VW Passat 2.8L that does 12.8L/100Km (based on my average driving habits – I record the amount of petrol purchased and the distance driven). I spend an average of just over $60 a month on petrol, so I’m approaching $800 per year.

I catch the tram and train to work most days (probably drive to work less than 10% of the time) and use my car very little apart from that (most places that I drive to are close to my house).

If I was to exclusively drive to work then that alone would make my petrol expenses approach $8000 per annum. If I was to shop at locations that weren’t so convenient or do recreational driving then the petrol expenses could be significantly greater.

The $1000 a year I spend on public transport doesn’t seem so expensive!

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article about the increase in sales of hybrid cars due to fuel price increases. In that article they note that Toyota representatives claim that Prius drivers travel more than the average 15,000 KM per annum.

Recently the RACV magazine published an article based on the CNW report (the bogus report paid for by Exxon which claims that the Jeep Wrangler is better for the environment than the Toyota Prius). In response to this I reviewed all adverts for second-hand Prius and Wrangler’s on www.drive.com.au to determine how much these vehicles are driven.

I counted a 2006 model as a 1yo car for the purpose of the average. On the 29th of April when I looked at the web site there were 90 Prius and 127 Wrangler on sale for which both the model year and the distance driven were published. Of these vehicles the average distance driven per year for the Prius was 15995Km, and the average for the Wrangler was 11,658Km.

Someone who purchases a Prius instead of a V6 car (such as my VW Passat) can expect to save at least 7L per 100KM (based on the assumption of 12L/100Km for a V6 and 5L/100Km for a Prius – this is a conservative estimate, the savings could be greater). That would be a saving of at least 1120L of petrol per annum for the average Prius owner, giving a saving of >$1500 per annum with current petrol prices. Over the 20 year life of the vehicle the average Prius owner can expect to save at least $30,000 on petrol at current prices – but we do expect petrol prices to increase…

2 comments to costs of driving to work

  • PatSparkss

    Most people wouldn’t replace such athirsty car with a prius. 12L/100km is 6 cylinder Commodore teritory which is a much bigger car than a Prius.
    I replaced a 2 litre car which averaged 8L/100km with a Prius. I get about 4.2L/100km so saving about 3.8L/100km. I drive 25,000km/annum therefore I save about $1300 worth of petrol a year or $13,000 plus the increases in fuel prices per 10 year life cycle of my car. This offsets the extra $10,000 I paid for a hybrid over conventional car about the same size.