I decided to sell my car - 30-35 mpg is not enough. I like the little car well enough, but it is really expensive to own a car. I calculated that I have spent almost $40K on all auto related expenses, including lease payments & payoff, tolls, parking, repairs, maintenance, insurance:
2004 - 6,311.26
2005 - 8,535.01
2006 - 7,792.23
2007 - 14,963.13
2008 - 1,561.97
Net total: $39,163.60
This doesn't even take into consideration interest on credit cards where purchases were made on credit cards, transfer fees or anything else.
That's quite a chunk of change. I mean - that's a LOT of money. I could have paid off my $30K of student loans ages ago with what I've put into the car.
Once payment clears, I can pay off most of my credit card debt and cut down annual expenses by about $3K. Easily $300/month -- allowing me to pay off my student loans by the time I am 40 next year in December 2009.
Of course - I'll be without a car. It's a good little car and I have done many useful things with it. This will require me to ride the bicycle 5 miles to James' house and rent a car for camping trips. Even if I rent 5 times over the course of the year, that would cost about $1000, more or less. I'd still be saving money over owning the car.
And, of course, I can always get another car. Probably a hybrid. In a year or two.
I posted on Craigslist and started at $15K and waited a week, then went to $14K and then to $13K. I had a bit of interest at $12K and this evening, took all my will power to not back out of showing the car. I washed the car, emptied it out and waited for the buyer to show. He was really nice, and came with his adorable sister who had a list of questions written on paper. They looked it over, we went for a drive and they asked if I would be flexible in the price. I am pretty sure I could get my asking price for it, so held firm. They gave me a cash deposit and promised to return on Saturday -- we'll go to the bank and get cash and I'll hand over the keys, pink slip and records.
Bye bye, little green car. We had a lot of fun -- camping trips, road trips to LA. I never drove you out of the state of California once in 4 years, but we covered a lot of California. And, honestly, 30-35 MPG isn't going to be enough when we run out of oil.