My Exploding Money

I’ve been driving around quite a bit more than normal in the past few months: mostly the usual commute to work as well as visiting family in the North East. We’re up in Sunderland just once more before Christmas, so I can look forward to spending a bit less on fuel. What I hadn’t appreciated was exactly how much diesel I have been using recently.

A quick pre-amble to the figures below: every time I buy fuel, I fill the tank. I need diesel and it’s painful buying the stuff so why make it any more frequent than need be? I also write down the odometer reading and the amount of fuel used: this lets me keep track of fuel economy, which is a handy way of keeping an eye on how the car is running as a whole. I use Microsoft Money to keep track of the finances, which means I can lookup any transaction I’ve ever made since starting to use the program. That all sounds quite anal, but it’s my little world and I’m not harming anyone, so there.

I filled up on 4th June with the odometer reading 48,121 miles. I filled up again on the 9th and 19th June, then on the 7th, 14th, 19th, and 29th July. Next fill-up was 4th August, then a huge break until another tank was needed on 24th, and again on the 30th. I filled up again yesterday, with the odometer reading 52,677.

A total of 4556 miles in just 99 days (that’s just over 14 weeks). If I kept on driving at that rate, that’s an annual average of 16,800 miles: perhaps not huge by a sales rep standards, but still pretty high for someone who works at home at least 2 days a week.

What is distressing is how much fuel those 4500 miles had required: a shade over 500 litres (110 gallons). Painfully putting all of that into money equates to £650, and that doesn’t include the £60-worth that I hosed in yesterday: the vast majority of which is still in the tank. Ouch.

On the plus side, I have a very nice 54-plate Honda Accord which makes the driving quite pleasurable, even for long journeys. And yet, for such a big, comfortable saloon I consistently get 41mpg which I certainly can’t complain about. I wouldn’t gain a great deal of economy if I bought a small eco-hatch and then we would struggle to get all the baby stuff in when it came to the long northerly trips.

Another bonus is the wonderful i-CDTi diesel engine manages to kick out just 140g/km of CO2, which means I still get into the (relatively) cheap road tax band C. That’s “just” £120 per year at the minute, with the cost actually falling to £110 per year in 2009. Result.

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