Good-bye to the Accord

February 26th, 2010 by Potato

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.

The old Accord on PEI with the sunset it'll drive off into

One Response to “Good-bye to the Accord”

  1. wayfare Says:

    Wayfare: “Where’d you get the picture of the Accord?”
    Potato: “It was a picture of you, but I cropped you out of it.”