2020 Driving Data

A Deviation from Normal

2020 has seen a lot of changes.

I started the year off doing quarterly articles (Q1 and Q2). It was an effort to make this final article easier and shorter but I lost momentum half-way through the year when I had to switch driving trackers. I still have the data but things like tracking fill ups became more manual, so when I get to that data it’ll will be slightly less accurate.

Click the following years if you want to read 2018 or 2019

2019 vs 2020

I drove 58% less in 2020 than I did in 2019. Thanks to working from home, living closer to work, and the road trip to Minnesota in late 2019. Regardless, the road trip didn’t add a ton of miles as I was around the same distance in 2018.

In 2019 I did 15,736 to the 6,628.25 in 2020.

This condensed view really shows the quarantine our government imposed on us in mid March, day 85ish. We can see the few trips I did while house hunting before heading back to the office around late August, or Day 239. Then near Day 310 I had to quarantine at home due to coming into close contact with someone at work — I sat near them for 8 hours for two days — who had tested positive; my test came back negative.

In case you’re curious about a break down with the days individually numbers, check out the chart below.

Two Years Compared (daily)

Operation & Maintenance

It was a rather quiet year for upkeep. My biggest expense was gas followed up car washes and finally reapirs.

I have an annual subscription to a car wash in town and try to go weekly, especially in Winter when the dirt kicks kicked up from the snow and, while we don’t typically salt our roads, to lessen any corrosion from happening and keeping my car operational for longer. They suspended billing and memberships during the quarantine and reinstated them when drivers went back for their first car wash.

Repairs were minor, finally fixed my drivers side window and replaced a side view mirror.

Gasoline

As stated in 2019, gas prices plummeted once I was out of the Bay Area. They once again plummeted in 2020 when quarantines hit and the price per barrel of oil basically went to zero.

2020 Has Prices

The lowest I filled up at was $1.459 but the lowest I saw gas was $1.12 at Costco, but $1.32 at “regular” gas stations on April 17th checked via app which utilizes crowd sourcing to update prices).

I loved the gas discounts I earned while shopping for groceries but gave up after I started driving more. I had 50¢ of credits saved in December but they sadly expired the day I went to fill up.

Total Spent on Gas: $446.04

Operational

This includes car washes, registration, insurance and more.

Car Wash Cost: $320.95

Registration Cost: $54.25

Insurance: $516.93

Insurance was surprising. I paid $45/mo till May, then my total was $25/mo till November where it went up to $29.

Maintenance

Had a few mishaps in 2020 but nothing major. Replaced the rear wiper blade cover after it (supposedly) came off in the car wash, a digital tire pressure gauge, new side view mirrors, and the window motor for my driver side door.

Working on the Driver Side Door

The window motor was a bit more work than expected but we got it done. It doesn’t open nearly as fast as it used to but I’ll take that over the grinding sound of the last one. We were able to cut a few corners once we realized the motor wasn’t with the unit I bought, after a quick test we discovered the issue was thankfully not with the motor. As a result, we could do the whole repair without taking the interior door paneling apart.

I apologize for my lack of towel or cover on the roof of my car, I know resting a drill and tools up there isn’t ideal. The iPad case is the smart case from Apple and is magnetic, which has been insanely handy.

Total Maintenance Costs: $242.46

The Results

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit in 2020 was $1,580.63.

Over 6,628.25 miles means my total cost per mile was 23.84¢.

My Cost Per Mile in 2019 was 43.8¢, meaning I have reduced my ownership cost by almost 50%. A phenomenal savings. So let’s revisit the EV scenario.

Electric Vehicles in 2021

Car Comparison

This is what I use to compare costs across NEW vehicles with my current, used vehicle. Note the separator between a full cash purchase and financing purchase.

It’s surprising that the a new car is at least 10¢ more expensive per mile than my current vehicle.

This is why buying new is such a waste — especially with financing — buying used allows you to get a car for a cheaper price thus lowering your TCO, especially if you can skip the financing or finance a smaller portion. Another thing to note is that my sheet above is not 100% accurate. This isn’t meant to be down to the penny comparison, but a bigger picture comparison.

You’ll note a few discrepencies between the data here and the data in this article. I pulled all data in this article from my credit card statements, receipts, and more. The data in the spreadsheet is guestimated based off calculations and not intended to be super accurate, there’s a small margin of error that I’m not showing because I’m not calculating it.

Another important thing of note is that I’m also not including car washes in the spreadsheet and auto insurance may be less than I calculated for a new car. Note that “Car Cost” is not consistent. For my car, the car cost is what it cost me to buy it then, while current value is roughly what it’s worth now. The Car Cost for the new cars is what it would cost to buy them today, with a rough estimate of taxes.

Still waiting for the day to buy an EV, and the EV market is maturing and growing as each year passes. Rivian opened up their configurator for orders in November 2020, GM announced the Hummer for a Fall 2021 release, VW announced a few EV vehicles, and there’s more that I’m missing. Such as Cadillac buying out a few dealerships who didn’t want to transition to EV sales and service.

Now whether or not it’s a used or new EV is a question for another day but, I’m still committed to the EV future. I’m incredibly excited about this global transition.

I know I said I was looking forward to get an EV around this time but I think I’ll hold out a few more years. My car is still strong and the EV market is expanding at an incredible rate.

Photography & Technology is my thing.