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Feb 25

I’ve been waiting to write this one and it’s finally time!

Last winter I began the search to buy myself a car! A very exciting time for me, as well as a very confusing one. Along with figuring out what was available on the market, I wanted to know how much it was going to cost me to own this thing, and there were a lot of questions to ask, and very few clear answers to be found. Do I go new or used? Buy or lease? Finance or buy outright? Loan from the dealer or the bank? What’s the cost of ownership; fuel, maintenance, etc etc. . .

Since I was only able to find very vague information online, I decided to do my part and record every cost related to owning my car. Well, almost every cost. . . I’m sure I missed a car wash or an oil purchase somewhere, but I know I’ve got all the major expenses recorded. So let’s get started.

The Car


During the search for an automobile to call my own I decided I would get something on the smaller side, but with enough room for me to pack up some stuff or people in case I wanted to do something. It also had to be good with fuel, which generally comes hand in hand with a small sized vehicle.


I ended up choosing a used 2008 VW Rabbit. It has had one previous owner (a 3-yr lease from Enderby), and only 42,933km. From what I figured, this was a fairly lightly driven car, likely an older person using it to trips to and from Vernon or Salmon Arm on a weekly basis. It’s a red, 2-door, manual 5-gear hatch back with a 6-disc CD changer, Aux input, heated driver and front passenger seats, heated power mirrors, and power windows. I think most of that stuff is stock on VW’s. under the hood is a 2.5L 5-cylinder gas engine that pumps out 177hp with an estimated 22 city/29 hwy mpg. The power is more than enough to give the little rodent some kick. The estimated fuel mileage certainly isn’t the best in it’s class, but that’s mainly due to the extra cylinder that helps give it that pop.

It’s got lots of room in both the front and back seats, and plenty of space under the hatch to pack up for a week of camping.

Monthly Costs

As I would hope most people will be able to infer, these costs are the ones that occur on a regular monthly basis. Kind of like that time of the month for my bank account.

Car Loan

The first of the monthly costs is the dreaded car loan

I decided to go the route of financing through the dealership because they were able to give me the best rate over 5-years. Because I wasn’t technically employed at the time (even though I had accepted my position with TRUE) my mom had to co-sign with me. No problem, thanks mom!

So, what does a car loan over 5-years cost me? $424.06 per month.


Now this one could go either way: annual or monthly cost. I chose to go with monthly costs when i moved to Kamloops so that I could keep better track of it. I’m sure it would have be marginally cheaper to do it as an annual cost, but at the time I didn’t have the cash flow for that.

So, because I use the car for work (the whole reason for buying it in the first place) I have to have it insured for work, which adds a little more to it all. In the end I fork out $153.88 per month.

Total Monthly Costs

Bringing together loan repayment and insurance, my total regular monthly cost for owning my car to $577.94

Regular Costs

These costs are the ones that happen regularly, but not according to any sort of schedule. Now that I think of it, I could probably re-title this section “Fuel” costs. . .

Fuel Costs

Okay, so now we’re calling it Fuel costs. . . I’m not even going to explain this one.

I generally try to fill up around 1/4 tank so that I’m not pushing my fuel pump too hard. I fill up with regular octane 84 fuel, and I try to always fill up at the same place, unless of course I’m travelling somewhere.

The tank on the bunny is 55L.

Over the course of the past year I have put in approximately 2550L of fuel for a total cost of about $3,000. For the mathematicians out there, that works out to an average cost of $1.176 per litre.


Not to surprisingly, these are the costs related to maintaining the operation of the vehicle. While I`m sure I could argue my way into putting all sorts of things under this category I`m going to try and keep it straight forward. So, at this point in time it includes two things: oil changes and tire swaps.

And to be even more simple, the total cost of these things is about $1,850.


Alright, I’m getting a little worn out on this subject, so it’s time to wrap it up.

Total Cost of the Vehicle thru the year 2011: $12,000

Kilometers Driven: 32,600km

Cost per kilometer: $0.37/km

There we have it. I’ve probably left out a lot of detail, but if there are any questions feel free to comment!