Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One Way We're Saving A Little Money On Gas

Shane used to drive a Ford Ranger pickup that got good gas mileage. It was totaled in an accident last spring, which is why we have the full-size truck has has been driving to work every day for the past year.

The truck runs great, as it was in nearly new condition when we bought it, but for reasons he has yet to determine, it is not getting the gas mileage he (or his motorhead friends at work) seem to think it should. Granted, he lets it warm up on colder, and he carries a lot of weight (tools) in the back, but it still seems to be using more gasoline than we think it should. Our usual mechanic can't find anything wrong with it, and all the suggestions we've tried haven't made a difference. We really don't want to spend a lot more time or money looking for a problem that might not even exist.

In any case, as gas prices have gone up, we've missed the smaller truck's good mileage, so we bought this:

It's a beauty, isn't it? OK, it's a piece. But it runs great.

It's an '83 Chevy S-10 4WD that Shane picked up for $400 from a friend. It has less than 75,000 miles on it (believe it or not) and for most of it's 25 years, it's been used as nothing more than a wood-hauler on his friend's farm. We had to buy about $200 in parts to get it to pass inspection (new muffler, rear shocks, battery, etc.), and we were able to get a lot of parts like taillight lenses, headlight assemblies, a wiring harness, the grille, speakers, and more for free from another friend who is scrapping an inoperable S-10. Shane says, except for maybe installing the muffler, he can do all the work himself. It will need tires, but we can wait for a sale on those.

This little junker gets better mileage than the Ranger did. At current gas prices, it should pay for itself in about 4-5 months and then it will start saving money, even after adding in the cost of liability insurance. If gas prices keep rising, then I guess it will start saving us money sooner.

It's a construction worker's work truck. It doesn't have to look pretty.

The added advantage is that our full-size truck, which does still look nice inside and out, still has low miles for it's age, and which we own outright, will stay in good shape. It's there in the driveway as a reliable backup, should the S-10 (or our minivan) have problems, and it's a liquid asset should we ever need to sell it for quick cash. We hope that doesn't happen, but it's nice to know we have the option if it does.


Violet said...

You have it exactly right - it is a work truck; it doesn't have to look pretty.

I've been pleased with the gas mileage that my Nissan Sentra gets going to and from work. On my 60-mile round trip daily drive, it averages about 30 mpg. I didn't necessarily buy it for that reason, but it is a nice perk as gas prices continue to rise.

Tug said...

Gas mileage was one of the big reasons I went with the car I did, instead of an SUV - even the smaller ones.

Lisa said...

I've been looking for a little Ford Ranger for this exact reason. When hubby had a ford ranger it got really good gas mileage too. He would never let me park a chevy on our 5 acres. lol

Annie Jones said...

Violet: I'd like your gas mileage, too!

Tug: I know. The smaller SUVs get the same, or worse, mileage than our van.

Lisa: I used to drive (my own) Ranger and loved it. Just became impractical when we had try putting to adults and a car seat in it. (Don't tell Shane, but I'm not real fond of Chevys, either...LOL)