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One or two car family?

My wife and i are trying to decide if it makes sense for us to get a second car. I am blind so my wife is the only driver. We currently have a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 6.7L CTD 4x4 pickup that we need to tow our 12000lb + 5th wheel trailer. With diesel fuel costing nearly $4 a gallon and this truck getting around 14 mpg it's pretty expensive daily driver. We are spending about $4000 a year in fuel. So the question is would it make sense to get a second car that gets good fuel mileage ( 30 mpg ) ? My first thought is the cost of owning the second car would be more than we would save in fuel. My friend says we would save money because the truck would last longer and not have to be repaired or maintained as often. What do you think?
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Comments

  • How many miles per year do you now put on the truck? Around 14000? That's a pretty normal amount of driving, it won't hurt your truck much. I really doubt that going through the expense of buying, insuring, and maintaining a second car would pay off, remember that just the depreciation on the second car could be close to that $4000/year fuel cost you now have.
  • The numbers crunched come to about 14K miles per year on the truck now. How many of those 14K miles involve towing the 5th wheel? If you said 2K, then you'd use the car for 12K miles and at 30 mpg you'd spend about $1,520 (at $3.80 per gallon of regular) to fuel the car. Vs $3430 to fuel the truck for 12K miles. You'd save $1909 per year on fuel. Add in the costs of buying, registering, and insuring the 2nd car and then decide.

    The intangible is having a 30+mpg 2nd car might mean you feel better going out and doing more things since the cost of fuel isn't so onerous. This is something I notice having an '03 Civic that gets 35mpg overall and 40mpg on expressway trips.
  • I would say that you would have to really sit down and run the numbers. I played with some quick numbers and honestly you probably wouldn't save any significant money (over the short term assuming you finance). Any money you save on the truck's maintenance will just go to the car's maintenance, insurance, or financing. As long as the truck doesn't rust out it will probably last you 20 years.

    If you can afford to pay cash or buy a beater for around town (and save the truck for long trips) you might come out ahead.

    Any kids in the picture?

    14 mpg on a truck that size pretty good.
  • If you got a car that gives 30MPG, you'd save $2000/year.
    That's if you NEVER use the truck.
    If it's 50/50, then it's saving $1000/year.

    Now, offset that with extra insurance costs and depreciation of the 2nd vehicle.

    I think the only way this works is if you have a beater 2nd car that is reliable.
    Can you buy a car that has a huge dent?


    I'd like to know how you are using internet forums if you are blind.
    That is awesome. Do you have a special PC ?
  • I think UncleTurbo raises a good point. Does the psychological though of fueling up the truck negatively affect your quality of life?
  • @disqgolfer, you will need to contact your insurance company to see what the difference in insurance will be. They can tell you what the decrease will be for the truck when it is no longer a commuter vehicle, but will only be able to give you a ballpark estimate on a new car. They would need a VIN to give you an exact number. Maybe you can get a VIN for a car you might buy from an internet car dealer site. Then provide that to your insurer. If they ask, just tell them you are trying to see if a second, small car makes sense. They might hem and haw, but make sure they know you don't expect an exact cost because you can't tell them exactly what car you will buy.
  • Usedeconobox, You would be amazed at what blind people can do. I have several blind friends who are superb pianists. Over the decades, several famous organist/composers have been blind, including one of the current Notre Dame organists, Jean Pierre Leguay. Some of my blind friends are also piano tuner/techs and can tighten action screws faster than I can! I think that there is speech software available for computers for this purpose.
  • The intangible is having a 30+mpg 2nd car might mean you feel better going out and doing more things since the cost of fuel isn't so onerous. This is something I notice having an '03 Civic that gets 35mpg overall and 40mpg on expressway trips.
    That's one thing that's been brought up by those who own a Prius. They're using MORE fuel than they normally would because the car gets better MPG; they're taking the car on more and more trips than if they had a 25mpg vehicle.
  • Thanks for all the posts. I will try to answer a few questions that came up. We tow about 3500 miles a year 15K total. If we had a second car the truck would be driven about once a week just to keep her lubed up. Maintence costs would go down due to Honda civic size tires are all cheaper than 17" load range "E" truck tires. Our fuel stops are really tough, the pump stops at $100 and the truck's not full yet $120 is the average. Ouch. Kids are grown up and out of the house. We really like the Mini Cooper and think it would look awesome parked in the garge next to the big truck. I do take some compfer in my wife driving a 1 ton 4x4 truck in that it is safer than driving a small car, can't put a price on that.
    Concerning the blindness question I am legally blind with tunnel vision (RP) I have about 3 degrees of center vision that allows me the see enough to read.
    Maybe we should go for a middle aged crazy 2 seater sports car mmmmmm
  • A used Corvette would be a consideration. A 2006 Corvette will get about 26 MPG on the highway and that's gotta be at lesat twice what the truck gets.
This discussion has been closed.