Later today I’ll be driving the ‘97 Accord for the last time. All things considered, it has been a pretty good car: fun to drive, well-equipped, and reliable.
I found the original purchase agreement in the owner’s booklet: we bought it in January of 2000 (just over 10 years!) for $19k. We’ve put on 165k km in that time (I didn’t think the original owner did that much driving in the first 3 years — I always thought I drove closer to 20 Mm/yr!) and had roughly $8k in repairs. Maintenance is a bit tougher to estimate, but is probably somewhere around $5k. I’m getting ~$1k back as the trade-in, for a vehicle cost of $0.188/km. I don’t have fuel consumption records going all the way back to 2000, but in the last few years I’ve averaged 9.6 L/100 km overall, which at $1/L would cost $0.096/km, for a total cost of just under thirty cents per kilometre. There’s insurance, too, of course, and I’m sure my estimates here are probably missing some other costs since my record-keeping hasn’t been great.
Nonetheless, a bit of an eye-opener to the full costs of driving a car. I used to scoff at taking the train since it was $96 for a trip that only cost $32 in gas by car, but of course gas is only a fraction of the costs of driving!
Then again, the marginal cost of driving (gas, wear-and-tear) is actually fairly small, so that might not be the most appropriate accounting method. If I look at it as paying $30k (plus insurance yearly) for the privilege and freedom of being able to drive a car when and where I want, then the cost per trip is pretty low. And that’s how it works, too: once you have the car, it’s easy to use it for little trips to the store or to a friend’s house for a game of Settlers of Cataan or whatever. I’m sure it would probably be cheaper to not own a car and just use an autosharing service (or ick, a cab) for those trips that public transit and cycling won’t suit… but they have high marginal costs, which would make me not want to do them and so feel trapped (like, I wouldn’t pay $20 in cab fare to go to the grocery store and fill the trunk with stuff on sale).
Anyhow, I’m getting side-tracked. The point is that this was my first “real” car — the Prius will be my first new car, and the ‘87 BMW was my first-ever car, but the Accord was the first car that was all mine (repairs and all), and not a family car that I was the primary driver on. It was the car I drove on my first date, the car we took out to PEI several times, the car that took us to our honeymoon, and the car that crawled through a freak snowstorm to bring my kitty (and me) out to London.
But now it’s an old car. The repairs are starting to mount. And the Toyota recall gives me a good entry point to drive the car of the future today. So it’s time to move on.
Against all reason though, I’m going to miss it.