Everyone has heard of mpg (miles per gallon). What about considering the cost per mile driven? While it would be great to include the externalities, today I’ll keep it simple and just focus on the price you pay at the pump.
The car I used to drive typically got almost 30 mpg. I’ll round it to 30. Neela gets 80-90 mpg now (150cc engine) but I’ll round down to 80 mpg. While I’ve heard arguments on both sides, I have caved in and give Neela premium gasoline. The car gets the cheap stuff.
At today’s prices for a 100 mile trip, I save $6 using the scooter. If gas goes up $2, I save $10. For the details keep reading…
Using gasbuddy.com I found today’s price for regular and premium. (I think the medium level stuff is a racket.) Cheap is $3.01/gallon, while premium is $3.23/gallon. For Neela the equation is $3.23/gallon * 1 gallon/80 miles = $3.23 / 80 miles = $0.040375 / mile. For the car the equation is $3.01/gallon * 1 gallon/30 miles = $3.01 / 30 miles = $0.1003333 (3 keeps repeating).
These costs are per 1 mile, but they are so small it is hard to think about them, they both seem like nothing. So consider you travel 100 miles. (Just multiply the rates by 100.) With Neela this would cost you $4.0375. With the car it would cost you $10.0333. In non-nerd terms, gas for my scooter on a 100 mile trip costs me $4, and gas for the car on the same trip costs me $10.
There are lots of other things to consider of course, but if you ONLY cared about the cost of gas at the pump, obviously the scooter is cheaper.
Now pretend gas goes up by $2 across the board. (I’m not sure how higher costs play out for regular vs. premium, so I just assume it doesn’t matter.) Now premium is $5.23 and regular is $5.01. Following the same math as before, the results for the 100 mile trip are: Neela costs $6.5375, while the car costs $16.70. In other words, if gas goes up $2, now the scooter saves you $10. (I save $6 with today’s gas prices, compared to the car.)
I realize people would prefer to have a neat calculator to just input their own numbers, but I don’t have time to set that up right now. If someone else does this or finds it on the web, please leave a comment so I can link to it.