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Mileage advice required - Daley
Hi all,

I'm a newbie here so go easy!

I am a self-employed accident investigator and as such travel approx 40k miles p.a. in the course of my work. I am looking to buy a new car and obviously a need one that provides decent economy. However, as I also spend a lot of time in my car it needs to be fairly roomy/comfortable etc.

I have looked at a BMW 3 Series (poss the 1.8 diesel ES) which seem to have good mpg figures and also tick all the comfort boxes. Other possibilities are the new Passat or maybe a new Insignia (which doesn't have as good mpg).

Another consideration could be getting a lpg car (or getting a new 1 converted). What are peoples thoughts on this? Would it be possible to get a new Insignia for example, then fit it with a lpg conversion?

Rough figures are approx 50 mpg for the insignia but with lpg at almost half the price of diesel, would that mean I could effectively get 100mpg - or does it not work like that?!

As you can probs tell, I do not know much about cars!

Thanks for reading.
Mileage advice required - Manatee
I dare say you could get an LPG conversion done on a petrol Insignia, but the mpg will be worse than than on petrol which will reduce the saving. LPG conversions are not always successful either, depending who does them. You'll also be a hostage to fortune - it's only cheaper at the moment because there's less tax on it.

The BMW sounds a good prospect if you like them. The VAG PD engines have a reputation for outstanding economy, and are still available in some models - e.g. the Skoda Octavia.
Mileage advice required - tyro
Regarding LPG conversions, I suggest that you do a "Forum Search":

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/search.htm

Read threads like this one:

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?t=65354

As far as comfort - the only way to find out what is comfortable for you is to try out a few cars - it's very much a matter of individual taste and build.
Mileage advice required - rtj70
A petrol Insignia would not do 50mpg - nowhere near that. An LPG conversion will be less efficient again so you might get 30mpg at a guess. Taking into account the price difference for LPG then you could equate that to a higher equivalent if it was petrol.

A question that is relevant is how do you claim back the cost of the 40k miles you do per annum - or even do you? Or do you cover that in your fees as a self employed investigator?
Mileage advice required - Daley
So are we saying that an LPG car would only be approx 60% as efficient as a petrol/diesel? Pretty much negates the difference in price then!

I claim my fuel costs back per mile driven (40p for the 1st 10k then 25p thereafter) so the cheaper I can run my car, the better.
Mileage advice required - Focus {P}
So are we saying that an LPG car would only be approx 60% as efficient
as a petrol/diesel? Pretty much negates the difference in price then!


I suppose if it worked out that much cheaper then more people would be doing it. I get the impression it was more for people that want a petrol engine (or don't want a diesel) with diesel economy.
Mileage advice required - rtj70
An LPG conversion on a petrol car is less efficient than the same engine running on petrol. Therefore it is much less efficient than a diesel variant of the same model of car.

After taking the cost of conversion into account (assuming it was not done when it was made) the petrol car converted to LPG will take some time to repay the outlay on the conversion.

As Focus says, if there were big savings to be had there'd be more LPG cars on the road. Some of the latest diesels like the BMW you mention or the Audi A4 136 TDie offer very good mpg.

Edited by rtj70 on 06/02/2010 at 17:43

Mileage advice required - daveyjp
One of the new fuel efficient diesel Mondeos - £15,500 brand new at drivethedeal

They are cheap to buy, cheap to fix and cheap to run.

Audi A4 TDie is over £21,000 (once you start ticking options it can quickly get to over £25k)- At average mileage an A4 loses at least 50% over three years, one with 120k on the clock may well lose £15k - the Mondeo won't.
Mileage advice required - daveyjp
Or an Octavia 1.6|TDI Greenline - just £13,600!
Mileage advice required - Falkirk Bairn
Big mileage, therefore heavy depreciation.

Best bet is a 2 yo low mileage car diesel Vectra, Focus , pile on 30/40K sell and repeat this every year.

Sell at just higher than average for a 3/4 yo car

Being 2 yo the worst of the depreciation will have been taken by the 1st owner.
Mileage advice required - Nsar
I used to do about 30k miles a year in my Saab and were I to do that kind of mileage again I'd start my car search with a Saab.

I'm afraid I can't offer any insight on LPG etc.
Mileage advice required - tyro
Best bet is a 2 yo low mileage car diesel Vectra, Focus, pile on 30/40K sell and repeat this every year.

If you get bored with cars, and like to change them frequently, that's a good idea.

The negatives are
1) every single car you get is a couple of years old, so you never get a new car, and every time you have the uncertainty of not knowing its history and wondering whether it will be a good 'un - and if it is, you only get the benefit for a year.
2) If you don't enjoy changing cars, you are spending a lot of time choosing another car fairly frequently
3) You are selling and buying every year, and every time you sell and buy, assuming you buy from a dealer, you lose money.

I'd probably prefer to get a new or nearly new Mondeo or Octavia (or whatever you find comfortable) and running it into the ground over 4 or 5 years.
Mileage advice required - Nsar
The trouble with running a car into the ground is that one day it will become more expensive to fix than it is worth. You just never know when that day is!
Mileage advice required - tyro
But you hope that with a modern diesel, doing mostly motorway miles, it is before you get to 200,000. By that time, it owes you nothing, and you ditch it and get a new one.
Mileage advice required - Graham567
Just paid £17500 for a Titanium X 2.0 diesel pre reg with delivery miles.Thats a massive £9000 saving on list.

Its extremely comfortable and refined and at that price a bargain.
If you can buy at a massive discount then the depreciation isn't too bad at the other end.

I bought my last brand new vectra for £10,995 and still got £6000 trade in 3 years later.So £5000 depreciation over 3 years is not too bad in my book(54% retained value(on par with a mini!))
Mileage advice required - Happy Blue!
Bear in mind that the true cost of running a car is more than 40ppm. You will closer to it with a nearly new BMW diesel, but suspect you will still lose money rather than make over a 90,000 lifetime.

Just bought a 79,000 mile Volvo XC90. The guy probably paid about £36,000 for the car and must have lost at least £20,000 in three years. That's 25ppm for depreciation before you add in the cost of fuel, insurance and servicing.

Maybe the 'start off cheap' route is the one to go for?
Mileage advice required - Statistical outlier
40p+? Doesn't have to be Espada.

I calculated the total cost of ownership of my Accord Tourer over the first three years.

Including the deposit, monthly payments, fuel, maintenance, repairs and insurance, it cost me 33p per mile driving 27k/year.

Now I will admit for that to have been set in stone I would have had to hand the car back at the end (which I didn't), and it's a fairly high mileage, but it's still fairly reasonable for a niceish and new car.
Mileage advice required - Lygonos
Volvo S80 1.6d are coming in under £19k from drivethedeal.com and ukcarbroker.com.

Big cruiser, realistic 50+mpg.
Mileage advice required - Nsar
SO, that's good going. Was it from new and over how many miles?
Mileage advice required - jbif
SO, that's good going. Was it from new and over how many miles? >>


Nsar: "Statistical outlier" used to be known here as GordonM, and you may remember his Accord better associated with his original name than "Statistical outlier".

Mileage advice required - b308
Including the deposit monthly payments fuel maintenance repairs and insurance it cost me 33p per
mile driving 27k/year.


Depreciation?

Or is that included in the mothly payments?
Mileage advice required - Lygonos
New XC90s are currently 9-10k off list from the web brokers.

Base spec are about 22-23k new.
Mileage advice required - Falkirk Bairn
The OP stated rate he gets 40p for 10K and 25p thereafter.

This is the HMRC allowed rate and is non taxable.

About 10 years ago the HMRC rate was 45p for 10K and was cut to 40p about 6/7 years ago as drivers "were making a profit on their business travel"

In the last 6/7 years the cost of fuel has rocketed, Repair/service rates have climbed, Ins ha gone up and after April the RFL on all but the Dinky cars (with a few honourable excepetion) will rocket.

Surely the HMRC should review rates.

From memory 6/7 yr ago my 30+mpg car cost me some 12 p / mile for petrol, today it would be 16p or thereabouts.
Mileage advice required - Brian Tryzers
I think the idea of 'cost per mile' is misleading, especially if we try to reduce all the costs of car ownership to a single unit value.

Costs divide into two categories: fixed (depreciation, insurance, VED, garaging), and running (fuel, tyres and other consumables, servicing). True, there's some bleed from one category to the other - mileage increases depreciation and insurance costs - but it seems reasonable to exclude from the costs you're trying to cover with mileage expenses the fixed costs of owning the car, which you'd have anyway.

Based on this, I reckon the running cost of my Volvo (even with Michelin tyres and main dealer servicing) is about 15p a mile, and you'd need something pretty big and thirsty to exceed 25p.
Mileage advice required - brum
Based on this I reckon the running cost of my Volvo (even with Michelin tyres
and main dealer servicing) is about 15p a mile and you'd need something pretty big
and thirsty to exceed 25p.


Provided you got the car for next to nothing or stole it! (He does 40k pa)

OP. Maybe you can pick up a cheap CAT C writeoff and do it up! ;) (thats intended to be a humourous remark based on the OP's job....for the benefit of the majority of Backroomers who are a bit slow)

Edited by brum on 07/02/2010 at 11:58

Mileage advice required - ifithelps
...thats intended to be a humourous remark based on the OP's job....for the benefit of the majority of Backroomers who are a bit slow)...

Most of us are a bit slow, are we brum?

Thanks very much.

I wondered about the OP's job 'accident investigator'.

Since he didn't seek to claim/display any inside motor trade knowledge, I don't think we can assume the accidents he investigates involve motor vehicles.

Mileage advice required - Daley
Cheers for the advice guys - some interesting points for me to mull over.

Just to clear a couple of points up - yes, as someone above said, the mileage allowance which I stated I received is the standard HMRC allowance and is tax-deductable. Also, 90% of the accidents which I investigate are RTC's (Road Traffic Collisions) but that doesn't mean I actually need to know anything about cars (which I don't!). My job involves determining liability, not which vehicle is the most cost-effective!

Regarding the idea of buying a low mileage car and selling it every year. If I bought, for example, a 3 year old BMW, would I expect to get a similar mpg figure to a brand new BMW (same model) and if not, where can I find out mpg figures for used cars?

Thanks again guys.
Mileage advice required - Nsar
>>Also, 90% of the accidents which I investigate are RTC's (Road Traffic Collisions) but that doesn't mean I actually need to know anything about cars (which I don't!). My job involves determining liability, not which vehicle is the most cost-effective!<<

That's a very striking thing to say.

I would have thought that since quite a few accidents are caused by drivers being unable to stop in time or going off the road being unable to control their cornering, some appreciation of the characteristics of different cars would be an important part of weighing up whether someone was unfortunate or reckless.

Edited by Nsar on 07/02/2010 at 16:28

Mileage advice required - Daley
'I would have thought that since quite a few accidents are caused by drivers being unable to stop in time or going off the road being unable to control their cornering, some appreciation of the characteristics of different cars would be an important part of weighing up whether someone was unfortunate or reckless.'

Accidents are rarely caused by the car; the characteristics of it's driver are far more useful! ;-)
Mileage advice required - Nsar
Accidents are caused by drivers' actions at the wheel. You can't separate them so not understanding one makes the whole judgement flawed, it would seem to me


Mileage advice required - Brian Tryzers
>Provided you got the car for next to nothing or stole it! (He does 40k pa)

No, Brum. I believe the trade uses a rule of thumb that each thousand miles over the norm reduces the value by £50, so that's 5p a mile for work-related depreciation over and above what the car was costing you anyway. Even if we take an extreme case of a £15,000 car that does 120,000 business miles in three years and is considered worthless at the end of it, each mile can have cost only 12.5p in depreciation. Meanwhile, the driver will have claimed £34,500 in reimbursement and had the use of the car for private purposes.

Incidentally, points to the OP for a rare correct use of the phrase 'as such'.
}:---)
Mileage advice required - tyro
If I bought, for example, a 3 year old BMW, would I expect to get a similar mpg figure to a brand new BMW (same model) and if not, where can I find out mpg figures for used cars?

The mpg figures for diesel engines actually improve considerably over the first 20,000 miles or so. In other words, brand new ones are the least economical.
 

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