the cost scheme

I am about to sell my old ’89 Volks­wa­gen Golf II on sunday after­noon and just com­ple­ted the excel sheet I have been main­tai­ning over the last 5 years to keep track of car-rela­ted expen­ses. A cost over­view whe­re I would enter amounts spent on insuran­ce, tax, repairs (main­ten­an­ce) and — most import­ant­ly — petrol costs.

Dif­fe­rent friends have been laug­hing about this to some extent, as I always noted down the mileage whenever I refu­e­led the car and collec­ted the bills. To their under­stan­ding, the­re would be no need in having an over­view what the over­all car cos­ts are, also sin­ce the car is too old. It has been my first car though, which is why I wan­ted to have an over­view of what I have repai­red during the years and how much I’ve spent on this and that. Also, knowing how much petrol the car con­su­mes indi­ca­tes up-com­ing pro­blems with the sparks, car­bu­re­tor, petrol pump, etc. — just think of it as a regu­lar, pas­si­ve medi­cal check-up.

Well, turns out I’ve dri­ven the car for a total of ~ 71.000 kms during Feb. 2001 and Sept. 2006 (68 mon­ths), spent ~ EUR 895,- on tax cos­ts, ~ EUR 2063,- on insuran­ce cos­ts, ~ EUR 2.892,- on repairs (cheap!) and ~ EUR 4.687,- on petrol — which gene­ra­tes a total of ~ EUR 10.537,-. And plea­se be remin­ded — I bought the car for ~ EUR 1.636,- EUR in Feb. 2001 ( DEM 3.200,-).

Now, I did a lot of minor repairs by mys­elf and have a friend who runs a gara­ge and we had this deal that I would help him out with some com­pu­ter stuff and he would repair my car whenever pro­fes­sio­nal work would be nee­ded. I bought spa­re parts at a who­le­sa­le pri­ce level and even orde­red a new exhaust sys­tem via Ebay one day for a very jua kali pri­ce. Tax cos­ts could have been lower by instal­ling a dif­fe­rent engi­ne star­ter which would have lowe­red the tax clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on from Euro1 to Euro2 — but it did­n’t make sen­se for such an old car. Insuran­ce cos­ts whe­re rela­tively cheap as I had regis­tered the car on my Mze­e’s name who got a huge dis­count. Petrol cos­ts in Ger­ma­ny have risen for at least 27% during 2001 and 2006, which also exp­lains why I’ve tra­vel­led even less kilo­me­tres with the car during the last two years (2005: 7.000km, 2006: 4.000km).

I think it’s inte­res­ting to know that you can buy a car for a small pri­ce but are for­ced to spend huge amounts on main­tai­ning it. Also, when I look at unavo­ida­ble cos­ts like insuran­ce, tax and petrol (average con­sump­ti­on ~ 8l/100km), it seems that I did the right thing by buy­ing an old (very old) car ins­tead of lea­sing a new one. After all, I spent an average of about EUR 0,17 per dri­ven kilo­met­re — which is che­a­per than what I would have spent on a new Toyo­ta or so.

Now what is nee­ded is to com­pa­re the­se expen­ses with others in Kenya and the US (for instance). Anyone?

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