Saturday, June 25, 2005

Car hunting.

Well, folks. With fuel prices as they are we have begun a search for a different vehicle. I don't want to give up my truck, but with it's 18 MPG Hwy miles, we may have to to survive.

I don't pretend that I will not miss the Red Giant. My 99 1500 Silverado z71 4WD certainly drives like a dream, and it certainly has lasted me some considerable length of time... but let's face facts, it's a gas hog. Not for all it's features, which, in-fact, improve it's MPG rating over the stock model. And certainly not for it's room. Room it has. But I commute a total of over 60 miles daily. That's 3.333 gallons daily if it were all highway from work to Home... roughly 40 miles of that isn't. So here's the figures. 1.333 gallons Hwy (20 miles), 2.666 gallons City (40 miles), which totals to right at 4 gallons of fuel used daily. Note I'm not factoring for the up to 10 miles I consume for lunch... SHAZBOT. more factoring.

Okay... So we still have the hwy miles totaling 1.333 gallons of daily use. Now we have 3.333 gallons of city miles. 4.7 gallons, which we will round to 5 for the sake of simple math.

5 Gallons in today's OKC fuel market... average price $2.039 per gallon of unleaded gasoline factors out to $10.195 or $10.20 daily. I got to work 5 days a week which comes out to $51 of gas just going to work. We drive a good bit more than that. But we'll stick with the work numbers just to give ballpark figures to this entire thing.

And so, average gas useage a week, factoring a 25 gallon tank is usually a tank and a half. Average fuel consts per week is somewhere around $77. Ouch.

So anyway, back to the search. Knowing my style, as some of you do, I want something classy, nice, but not overly nice if I absolutly have to replace my Big Red Beast, whcih I enjoy so very very much. And guess what. I'm looking at new.

Now, I know what you're thinking. A New vehicle. Yes, a new vehicle. I've been through 3 vehicles since I started driving, and they are as follows: 79 Oldsmobile Cutlass-Caile (might have spelled that wrong), 95 Silverado 1500 z71 4WD, 99 Silverado 1500 z71 4WD. I've enjoyed each fo them in one way or another, but none of them have been particularly economical. Each and every one has been a V8. And each, likewise, has had around the same level of fuel economy. Though the Cutlass had a slight edge on the trucks.

Each of them was a used vehicle. The first I purchased from my Great Grandmother Mary Opal, as she choose to end her days of driving. The second was part of a deal made with my father. If I made it through my first year of driving without a single ticket he stated he would buy me a new car... well, instead he gave me his truck, and he bought the truck I am currently driving. This gives you some history of my vehicles. Now My father did renig on the original deal, but I'll note for my few readers that We were not well off at the time, and I was more than glad to have it. Meanwhile a few weeks after I sold the Cutlass it was destroyed by the May 3rd Tornado (the one that added the F6 rating to the scale, for those not familure with Oklahoma's more recent tornadic history). May it rest in peace. It was a good machine.

But anyway, I'm getting off on a tangent.

Being a large guy, considerations when choosing a vehicle not only include performance and fuel economy, but also include questions such as, "Can I fit in the blasted thing?", "Will my knees be in my chest when attempting to operate the vehicle?", "Will I hit my head on the ceiling each time we hit a bump", etc. etc.

And so the complications are many. Knowing this Nette and I began looking into the vehicle market. Immidiately this removes a large chunk of cars from the list we could look at. Room, being a large consideration, we have choosen to mainly look into the foriegn car market for a smaller SUV, or SUV-like car. Though you will note there is an exception to that in the following list:

1: Honda Element
2: Honda CRV (not great on looks, but also not bad)
3: Scion xB
4: Chevy Impala

Used or New, options were few. The Impala only makes the list due to a rental experience I had a while back, which lets me know that I can fit and drive the sedan.

1, The Honda Element. It looks nice, it drives nice, but it's gas milage is 22mpg city, and 26mpg hwy for the 2WD model. The 4WD model is almost exactly that of my exsisting vehicle. And so it was written of simply because it didn't have the kind fo MPG rating we were wanting.

2, The Honda CRV. The CRV is an average looking SUV, with rater average looking options. Here's the downside. Room. I found I had difficulty getting intot he driver's seat, and the seat would not move back far enough for me to operate it comfortably. And so, regardless fo it's considerable MPG imporvement of the element, it is not longer on the list.

4, The Chevy Impala. Yeah, I know I'm out of order, but #3 is the one we're seriously looking at. The Impala drives nice. I can fit in it rather well, and it's a V6... a definate plus. Downside, 21mpg city, 32mpg highway. I like that highway number. But here's the problem. I do more city driving than I do Highway driving, like it or not. And while this still makes it an item to remain on the list, it's not the o0ne that has caught my eye so well.

3, The Scion xB. This little freak of nature is manufactured by Toyota in the same way Chevy, Saturn, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, etc. are General Motors. Technically classified as a small station wagon, it looks nothing like it. Milage is stellar for a non-hybrid: 31mpg city, 35 mpg highway.

From the dimensions, this one looks most promising. Not to mention all that comes standard with it. plan is to go take a look at one monday to make the final call as to whther or not it stays on the list.

I admit, I have this one on the list for looks, dimensions, and mpg. Looks are a big factor when it comes to me even considering a V4. And this vehicle, while low profile, is hard to miss as it moves down the streets. check out for some more info if you're curious about what I mean.

Just sweet looking, Nice stereo system (pioneer 6 speaker CD player/AM/FM is standard), AC, Power windows-seats-locks... having to pay a little extra to get a GM-like Cruise control and Security System (GM Cruise Control allows for exact MPH adjustment) But I consider both items worth it considering the items I occationally hual, and how much I drive.

The Big Red Beast has an average trade in value of $11,800.00 and an average sell value of $14,675 with an aprx. of my current milage. Not that I want to part with it. Reference,

The xB, new, and with the features I want has an MSRP of $15,917.00. Now that is MSRP, there's little doubt in my mind we can get that bumped down at least a couple thousand. Now you see why I am considering buying new. Listed base MSRP from Scion's website is $14,530.00. Meanwhile the invoice total is $13,803.00 and with my options invoice is $14,915.00 (link:

What is finally comes down to is how much money this will end up costing me before it's all finished. and the difference, If I sell it myself, is looking to be between $500.00 and $1500.00. Which is something I think I can live with. And leaves me with a vehicle paid off in no time flat.

Baseline, though. Here's the raw fuel usage figures. 1.612 Gallons consumed by the xB for my city miles (50 miles daily), 0.571 gallons for my highway miles (20 miles daily). For a total of 2.183 gallons consumed daily, as opposed to the 4.7 used by the truck. A difference of 2.517 gallons, which is less than half the gallons used by the truck. Also, $4.46, as oppossed to the $9.59 (exact gallons) consumed by the truck. A difference of $5.13 per day. I'd figure the difference weekly based on the number fo fill-ups, but I don't honestly know what the difference would be from the currect 25 gallon tank to the 11.9 gallon tank fo the xB, suffice to say I beleive it would be less. We factor just work driving, though, $47.95 of the truck, and the $22.30 of the xB on the same mile figures, and that is a difference of $25.65 weekly.
Annually the savings on just work fuel is $1285.50, a factor, which, no matter how this is looked at, has the vehicle paying the difference in 2.5 years in Fuel savings on work alone. Not counting work I'd figure this vehicle to have paid fot the difference in less than 2 years.

Anyway. Too much math for some.

G'night, best wishes, and 013

Monday, June 13, 2005

...Checking in

Sorry guys. Just letting you know I'm not dead. Been almost 2 month since I;ve posted anything. Suffice to say work has been busy. They're working on hiring us some help. Which is good on two levels. 1, We won't be so swamped we can't breathe, like we are now. 2, I will no longer be the low man on the perverbial totem pole. IE maybe I can swing for a better schedual after a few months, depending on how long it takes to get the new person trained. So, finally some good news on the work front.

Yes- what's next. Oh yeah. Vacation, 6-19-04 through 6-27-04. I'm going to be spending the first half of the week @ lake Arbuckle from the looks of it. Something I ahve been looking forward to for some time. And lets face it. I've been about to snap from my routine for the last 4 months. I need time off every once in a while just to commune with God and to clear my head. And so this will be a much needed recharge on my part. Expect a few posts from that week.

Second half of the week is pretty open, Nette is wanting to see some museums, and I think that's an okay idea. Likely the Gilcrease (likely spelled that wrong) in Tulsa among several others.

We're not going to go too far. Naught the fundage, sadly. Dave, John, and several of the rest of you, I am looking forward to at the very least paying you visits over this break. I'll be Sans-Internet while at the lake, though. so get ahold of me on my leash.

Storm Season seems to be hitting us late this year... main reason work has been as busy as it has the past few weeks. But as crazy as it sounds to those of you not from Oklahoma, I enjoy the Thunderstorms. Keep in mind, the Weather coverage here is second to none, and a tornado we usually have significant warning about, and can dodge if nessesary.

Third star to the right and straight on till morning... and 013.