As we all know, everybody goes mental over the "miles per gallon" of his or her car. Car companies tout their mileage estimates. Consumer Reports and various other websites say that by keeping your car tuned up and tires inflated, you can increase your gas mileage.
So I've been using the similar but far more useful "Miles per Dollar" (or M/$) when budgeting for my car. The concept is brutally simple... If I get 300 miles on 10 gallons of gas, my result is 30 MPG. However, if it costs me $30.49 (10 gals @ $3.049/gal) to get those 300 miles, my "M/$" is 9.84
In real life, I can get about 27 MPG in my ‘98 Ford Escort (Yeah, I said '98. I like retro.) Also, with the cost of gas... especially with the wild price swings, I don't want to spend the $35 to fill my tank. I generally put in $20 in my tank once a week. I reset the trip indicator and see if I can get to 200 miles. I can't these days. A few months ago when gas was around $2.79, I did get 10 M/$. Now of course, it is back down to about 8.85 M/$.
But with the newly invented M/$ statistic, I can actually see how much it costs to go places (like work... it costs $1.51 to go the 13.4 miles to work). My wife's SUV (Suburban Ussault Vehicle) gets 5.57 M/$, so it costs me $2.40 to take the truck to work.
I can tell (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Official Step-kids how much it will cost to drive my car the 175 miles to Dubuque ($19.77) to drop them off for a trip to visit their father (then I will mention that we will have to drive back, then to Dubuque again to pick them up, and back again, for a grand total of $79.07.) And that's in the "crappy car". For them to ride in style halfway to their dad's house, the entire set of there-and-backs would be a hefty $125.59. I wonder if they have enough aluminum cans for that.