My Idiot Neighbor
I live in a pretty nice neighborhood (as long as you are not on Nextdoor, otherwise, we are a den of racist assholes). Most homes are owner occupied, but there are a couple that are rentals. One of them, the landlord is a genuine skinflint, who refused to help pay to replace a fence that had collapsed. But he always has tenants because he charges what goes for a "deal" here in South San Jose.
The rub is that you get the second tier of renters. Now, they aren't horrible. They do run a licensed daycare out of the house, but they rent rooms to help defray the cost of renting (a 3 bedroom detached home here rents for nearly $4K a month - Yikes!).
The Idiot I am referring to is one of the roomies. He does something industrial (welder or construction I think), so he makes decent money. Late last year, he bought a brand new, 2022 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, a behemoth with the 5.7l Hemi V8.
And he drove that to and from work (I will add that he traded in a 2019 Ford F150 that looked perfect for it).
About 2 months ago, he was whining about gas prices, and the 16 MPG that his truck got was killing him, and his roughly 45 mile round trip commute.
What to do?
If you said "buy a motorcycle" give yourself a gold star.
Of course, if you wanted to be frugal and save on gas expense, you would buy a Kawasaki 250 or 400 twin cylinder that sips gasoline (60 - 80 MPG) or others that are even more frugal.
But being a real 'murican, he bought himself a 2022 Harley Davidson XL1200 (sportster) that gets about 43 MPG. The list price on that fine paint shaker is a hair over $13K. But stock its exhaust has the tone of a farting mosquito, so naturally, he had to have a set of loud pipes installed, and after a month of picking bugs out of his teeth, a windscreen appeared, the pair of which probably set him back about an extra grand.
So, $14+K to save money on gas because his ginormous Ram 1500 pickup is thirsty, and gasoline is about $6.50 a gallon here in California.
How long to break even?
He gets 43mpg/16mpg savings, or 2.7X as many miles per gallon. Thus on a typical daily round trip, it costs about $18.28 for the truck. Ouch. On the bike, it is about $6.80, so roughly 1/3 the cost per day.
But he paid about $14K for the Harley, so how long to break even?
At $6.80 a day vs. the Truck, he is saving $11.48, let's round that to $11.50.
Now if you take the $14K for the bike, divide that by the $11.50, it will take 1,217 commute trips. Assuming 5 days a week, and 50 weeks a year (2 weeks of vacation) and calculating, he breaks even after commuting 4.87 years.
So, what did we learn? That buying an expensive-ish bike to save on gasoline because your SUV or big-assed pickup truck is a guzzler is not really a good idea.
The math would have made more sense had he bought a small, used Japanese street bike for a couple of thousand bucks, but still, the economics aren't great.
The real reason I wrote this?
If you want to know why I took the time to write this it is because at 4:35 AM every weekday, this knob fires up his LOUD Harley and lets it warm up for 5 minutes before heading to work, and that makes sure that me, and most of the neighborhood is awake.
If he had bought that well seasoned used Kawasaki Ninja 250, we wouldn't give an iota of a damn.
Oh, and to prove that algebra really is useful.