It depends on how far you drive, not only on gas price. The other poster is also correct --- it's pretty hard to find a car that is only $200/month. It's hard to find a car that is less than $300/month. Then it's all about whether you want to get a loan for a used car, which may have problems of its own, which is a whole different story that affects the overall economic picture.
It is true that the argument for driving on older car, despite worse mileage, was more clear cut when gas was cheaper. However, not everybody drives 50 miles/day. It is still a better deal if you can drive less. The car you currently own, especially if it is paid for, is generally the best deal as opposed to buying a new car, regardless of mpg.
There is no doubt that improving the gas mileage on your old car will only help your overall economic situation. It seems like a 1982 Bonneville ought to be getting better mileage than 11 mpg. Maybe a tune-up is in order, and practicing some lightness on the throttle.
Agreed, they should be getting better gas mileage than that. I've owned two town cars and now have a full size Caddy De ville and they all got better gas mileage. I'm pending a 307 swap for my caddy but it still should get 14-15mpg lowest.
And to the argument that it's not cheaper and repair is more expensive on an old car. I do my repairs myself and as long as you up keep and fix what's needed driving an old car is no more expensive maintenance wise as a new car. Plus, like stated, there's no monthly bill on top of it.
I also own a 2.8L Chevy Celebrity as my current daily and it gets 20mpg (low for that model, but the valves are leaking and the carb is worn). I drop $120 in gas a month on the car and have only had to repair it twice since I've owned it. Both repairs total cost me maybe $150 in parts. How can you argue it's still not cheaper? New or old a good car is a good car and a POS is a POS. Don't be jaded and say just b/c people own old cars they all treat them terribly before you were the "savior" new owner... it's not always true.
Anyone who defends buying a new car by comparing the cost of ownership to an old car is merely repressing the fact that they probably do not have enough skill to properly maintain the older car.
A new car has many price factors involved such as:
1) The over inflated price.
2) The price of interest on the loan.
3) The added cost of insurance for owning said new car.
When you add it all up, you may just reach a figure of around 600 - 700 dollars per month. That's a lot of gas man!
I agree completely. A reliable older car is the way to go if you are on a budget.
Where I live almost everyone has new cars, even my friends are making huge monthly payments on their rides.
A lot of people can barely make the payments.
After you calculate the added insurance costs, added insurance liability, interest, depreciation, higher parts prices, and required maintenance costs, there is absolutely no way that a new car will save you money.
If someone smashes the mirror, breaks a taillight, or rear ends my 1990 Chevy Caprice, it's not a big deal. I can go to the junkyard with $20 and find what I need.
My friend with a 2009 Accord hit a post in a parking garage, it was a $900 repair because the front clip is plastic, as well as very expensive to find.
I don't need a new car, so I have a nice condition older one. I always buy my cars in cash, which is a good habit. "If you can't buy it in cash, then you can't afford it".
I like to drive old GMs with body on frame construction, solid steel bumpers, and V-8. I like the safety and comfort that these old cars offer, rear wheel drive makes driving a lot easier and less stressful as well.
These cars are amazingly reliable as well, cheap and easy to fix with plenty of room under the hood.
Mechanics love to work on my 1990 Caprice, but they never have to, it runs like a champ.
As far as fuel economy, it's comparable to any newer SUV, Truck, so not too bad at all considering.
I don't mind throwing an extra $5 or $10 in the gas station once a week, instead of $500 - $600 extra out of my bank account every month!
"I like to drive old GMs with body on frame construction, solid steel bumpers, and V-8. I like the safety and comfort that these old cars offer, rear wheel drive makes driving a lot easier and less stressful as well."
I think this fine quote is the key here - not so much cost, as the fact that you're driving a much nicer vehicle. If you drive a LOT, a new one might be cheaper, while if you drive little or moderately, the old large car is probably cheaper, but in any case, the difference is not so huge.
I also drive (or have when I could find them), the big old rear wheel drive comfort-cars. Alas, the issue nowadays is finding survivors in good condition - we're not far away from the day that these will only be collectibles, not daily drivers.