Driving a lot for Work

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there is a possibility that I would be driving up to 2,000 miles (or more) per month just for work alone.
So that's 24,000 miles a year at 65 cents/per = $15,600 extra income. Get yourself a first gen Honda Insight that will average 60 mpg or more. That's 400 gallons of gas or about $1,600 tops for fuel. You should be able to find a decent one in the $3K range plus a little for maintenance and insurance, you could clear an extra $10K the first year.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
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USA
That's correct. Option #1 would be if I drive an average of less than 1,300 miles per month. If I drive more than 1,300 miles average, I would be reimbursed via Option #2 instead.
So you don't get a choice? If it's 1300+ they give you option 2? It's a pretty simple system of linear equations to see where the break even point is.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
12,601
Location
Jupiter, Florida
I drive many miles for work. Generally split between rental cars, and my 3 F150's. My aircraft maintenance job requires that I work at 5 different airports, up and down the East Coast. For a short while there, I was over 10,000 miles per month due to avoiding the airlines by requirement. I am not reimbursed for my expenses, nor I am not trying to "make money" by driving a Prius. I sometimes need to put 2000 pounds of tools in the back and at other times carry 3 adults and travel bags.

My thoughts:

1) Comfortable seats!!! This is number 1, Period, end of story. DO NOT pick a vehicle with uncomfortable seats or an uncomfortable seating position. Consider how comfy it is when napping too. (if you drive a lot, you will "rest" in your car)
2) Low Interior Noise. Another biggie. Many modern cars are noisy, due to weight saving lack of insulation, low rolling resistance tires and so on.
3) Powertrain character. This is more of an issue than people realize. A buzzy or groaning engine, or unresponsive transmission makes the drive frustrating. My V8 F150 is a joy, the 3.5EB V6 is annoying, same steel body truck and size, vastly different character and noise level. Dealing with hills in rental cars with 3 adults, bags and low engine HP is flat out annoying, for example. (I bring this up because it highlights why a quiet, comfy, capable vehicle is so important, as passengers won't tolerate it for long, you shouldn't either)
4) Range per tank. Don't believe the published range data and MPG. Bigger tanks are better. Period! The small tanks will force you to use the most expensive gas stations.

Favorite rentals:

Chrysler 300 (just a pleasant place to be on long trips)(V6 is adequate, quiet enough)
Nissan Altima 2.5 (with higher trim) (Comfy seats, 600 miles per tank, 36mpg at 90)
Volvo S90 hybrid, just an awesome big and fast car
Any of the Chrysler V8's. (Charger/Challenger/300)
Chevy Impala V6 (big comfy seats, good highway MPG, quiet, solid, pleasant)
ANY of the larger Lexus cars. 350 and up.
Nissan Maxima. Comfy, powerful, playful. Better fast hwy mpg than an Accord 1.5t!

Most annoying:
Honda Accord 1.5t (least fav)(horrible seats, horrible low seating position, annoying engine, annoying nanny features)(poor MPG at high speeds)
Anything Hyundai/Kia
Subaru Crosstrek (terrible CVT, absolutely no power)
Toyota Camry (cheap noisy feel, and slows down by itself with steady pedal position)
Buick Envision (good god this thing is awful)
Prius. Yes, even I get good MPG in a Prius. But I truly hate driving them and can't wait to get out of them.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
12,601
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Jupiter, Florida
Just a thought about MPG. It's a big deal now that fuel prices are going up, I'm choking every time I fill up one of my trucks for $120 now. But consider the resale value of an economy car with a ton of miles on it. A 100K mile Sentra won't have much trade in value, even in today's market. It is still quite possible to lose enough money in resale value, that the money you saved in MPG makes a crummy car not worth it.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2018
Messages
5,282
Location
Great Lakes
I drive many miles for work. Generally split between rental cars, and my 3 F150's. My aircraft maintenance job requires that I work at 5 different airports, up and down the East Coast. For a short while there, I was over 10,000 miles per month due to avoiding the airlines by requirement. I am not reimbursed for my expenses, nor I am not trying to "make money" by driving a Prius. I sometimes need to put 2000 pounds of tools in the back and at other times carry 3 adults and travel bags.

My thoughts:

1) Comfortable seats!!! This is number 1, Period, end of story. DO NOT pick a vehicle with uncomfortable seats or an uncomfortable seating position. Consider how comfy it is when napping too. (if you drive a lot, you will "rest" in your car)
2) Low Interior Noise. Another biggie. Many modern cars are noisy, due to weight saving lack of insulation, low rolling resistance tires and so on.
3) Powertrain character. This is more of an issue than people realize. A buzzy or groaning engine, or unresponsive transmission makes the drive frustrating. My V8 F150 is a joy, the 3.5EB V6 is annoying, same steel body truck and size, vastly different character and noise level. Dealing with hills in rental cars with 3 adults, bags and low engine HP is flat out annoying, for example. (I bring this up because it highlights why a quiet, comfy, capable vehicle is so important, as passengers won't tolerate it for long, you shouldn't either)
4) Range per tank. Don't believe the published range data and MPG. Bigger tanks are better. Period! The small tanks will force you to use the most expensive gas stations.

Favorite rentals:

Chrysler 300 (just a pleasant place to be on long trips)(V6 is adequate, quiet enough)
Nissan Altima 2.5 (with higher trim) (Comfy seats, 600 miles per tank, 36mpg at 90)
Volvo S90 hybrid, just an awesome big and fast car
Any of the Chrysler V8's. (Charger/Challenger/300)
Chevy Impala V6 (big comfy seats, good highway MPG, quiet, solid, pleasant)
ANY of the larger Lexus cars. 350 and up.
Nissan Maxima. Comfy, powerful, playful. Better fast hwy mpg than an Accord 1.5t!

Most annoying:
Honda Accord 1.5t (least fav)(horrible seats, horrible low seating position, annoying engine, annoying nanny features)(poor MPG at high speeds)
Anything Hyundai/Kia
Subaru Crosstrek (terrible CVT, absolutely no power)
Toyota Camry (cheap noisy feel, and slows down by itself with steady pedal position)
Buick Envision (good god this thing is awful)
Prius. Yes, even I get good MPG in a Prius. But I truly hate driving them and can't wait to get out of them.
This. This a million times. A comfortable car that doesn’t make you hate yourself+the car and uses a bit more fuel is infinitely better than an uncomfortable car that gets a little better fuel economy.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
12,151
Location
Suburban Washington DC
This. This a million times. A comfortable car that doesn’t make you hate yourself+the car and uses a bit more fuel is infinitely better than an uncomfortable car that gets a little better fuel economy.
There are no "uncomfortable" cars sold in the last 50 years. At 65 cents a mile the OP could really make bank with the right one.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
2,186
Without knowing exactly how many miles you’ll actually be driving, tough to pick between the two. The good news is I‘m Sure you can change your mind and take the other option later on.

As for the actual driving, I don’t think I’d be all that concerned. I drive 25,000 miles per year on average and don’t get reimbursed anything. Been doing it for over ten years now.

Pick a reliable vehicle - if it’s your Mazda, then good, go with that - and drive it. You’ll go through tires quicker, brakes, and fluid changes, BUT if it’s mostly highway miles? Out of pocket repairs might not be that much. Hopefully your insurance covers glass, because you will go through windshields. Highway mileage is great but it’s a bear on your front end (paint, glass). Keep your alignments up to date if you can, it might save on tires. Watch your tire pressures. Keep the vehicle clean, inside and out. Get yourself on a rust prevention regimen (if you live in the salt belt). Buy good snow tires (if you’ll see winters/ice/snow). Change your fluids when you’re supposed to, and rotate those tires every 7,000 miles. Have plenty of windshield washer fluid on hand. Keep a set of jumper cables in your car, maybe a milk crate with some basic fluids stored in it and a good flashlight. And keep your AAA membership up to date, just in case. Fingers crossed, I’ve never broken down in the 250,000 miles I’ve driven in the last ten years.

I’ve been lucky (knock on wood) with my commuting, but I have run into a few “experiences”.

A turkey ran across the highway one morning and tried to jump over my hood. I was going 75 mph, it never made it past my passenger side mirror.

Turkey number 2 — tried to make it across a side road, it successfully made it into the right side of my bumper instead.

I’ve almost hit a few deer (thank god I’ve missed them). Turkey’s are one thing, deers are another.

I’ve had several older Toyota Camry’s and Dodge Caravans try to end my life, luckily I have good brakes. But I’ll tell you what. If you’re ever next to a 1999-2005 Camry or Caravan on the highway? Move at least a lane away.🤣🤣 I’m really not kidding.

Pickup trucks are now dominating the highways, get ready to have headlights right into your rear view mirror. And expect to look down at your speedometer (as you’re going 75) and there will be an F-150 or Chevy grill an inch away from your rear bumper. 😁😁

But I actually like driving, some day I wouldn’t mind finding a job that payed me to do it. Maybe when I retire.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
12,506
Location
Illinois
I am considering a new full time job which would require traveling throughout the week. 2-3 days a week I would be covering territory in NC, SC, Northern GA and Eastern TN, and there is a possibility that I would be driving up to 2,000 miles (or more) per month just for work alone.

I am curious to hear opinions from those who have experience with this.

I would be responsible for using my personal vehicle. On top of my base salary, I would be reimbursed as follows for mileage:

1. $0.65/mile per the latest IRS rate.

or

2. If I average over 1,300 miles per month, the employer would give me an extra $700/month (taxable) in my paycheck, and would reimburse me an additional $0.25/mile on top of that; instead of the $0.65/mile IRS rate.

I would be using my 2011 Mazda6 which has 165k miles on it. My plan would be to continue driving my current vehicle to make sure I enjoy the job first. If I find I like it, I would be open to buying a vehicle dedicated for work. I'm assuming based on work plus personal use, I would average 25-30k miles per year.

Does either one of the two options above sound better than the other? What else should I be aware of? I assume the least expensive option is just to drive a higher mileage reliable vehicle, since a new car would just be slammed with miles after a few years anyway? I am assuming a lease isn't an option for a work vehicle if I will be racking up 24k miles/year just for work.

Thanks.

I lived a version of both scenarios in the same job. We had something similar to option 2, a car allowance covered daily mileage less than 100 miles. Anything over and I would expense the over. It was a hassle because I had to keep records for the IRS and claim work related mileage as a deduction.

We went to just straight IRS mileage allowance and my life was much easier. Just expensed my miles and then could toss my documentation once the reimbursement came.

I drive a car that is similar to what you drive now. I have a 2012 Mazda3 that just rolled over to 149k miles yesterday. Ironically, I was on my way back from Milwaukee as I had to cover last week as both engineers were out. So mileage plus OT for me yesterday :) I had to make it back to STL as I had a call at a customer at 4pm.

(I did sleep well last night!)

I've yet to buy a new car for this job. I've been buying used Japanese sedans and hatchbacks with 60-100k miles on them and adding another 150k miles to them.

Current costs for my Mazda3 is $0.23/mile and that is buying the car, tax, tags, fuel, maintenance and repairs. Only number not covered is insurance which probably wouldn't move the number very much. So I'm $0.40 in the good for every mile I drive for work.

I basically drive "for free" as I get close to 2 miles of personal travel covered for every mile of work mileage.

My total usage is about 18.3k miles/year and most of it is work related. Most personal trips of any great distance are with oilBabe in the newer Rav4.


If you have the option, just get the mileage at a fixed rate. The other sounds a bit complex and demands more record keeping if you plan to itemize.

If there is no way you can itemize (we don't anymore with the tax law changes of 2017) then either works.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
12,506
Location
Illinois
That being said, I did just take a company trip that was 300 miles from home and used my own car because it was convenient and a pool vehicle was not available. Since my Camry has 232k miles on it, I didn't fear depreciation, and I hate the tires, so wear on them was no bother either. I looked at it as getting paid to take my car on a beneficial long drive.. My boss told me not to do that again and rent instead.

Last time the boss told me to rent was in early 2020. When I turned in my time card showing it took 3 hours to get the rental car he accepted that I might as well just drive my car. Avis was jacked up that day and what should have been 20 minutes turned in to an hours long ordeal.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2018
Messages
5,282
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Great Lakes
There are no "uncomfortable" cars sold in the last 50 years. At 65 cents a mile the OP could really make bank with the right one.
I drove a 2012 Dodge Caliber for 3 years, between looking like Mr. Incredible in it (my knees were 1/8” away from the dash with the seat as far back as it could go), my shoulder basically resting on the B pillar, the buzzy and god awful slow 2.0, and the rubber band CVT it was uncomfortable for anything more than my 15 minute commute to work… and that was pushing it.

So yeah… in the absolute strictest sense of the term “uncomfortable” you’re right, I’m sure that 2012 Dodge Caliber is more comfortable than any penalty box out of the 70’s or older. Everyone has their own values and opinions, what I find comfortable and actually want to spend extended periods of time in someone else won’t. GMFan also likely isn’t built like the brick outhouse that I am and be “comfortable” in something smaller or not mind buzzy drivetrains that drive me up the wall.
ECBB5219-0D4C-4D6C-9166-BE3E64BEEA55.jpeg
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
2,186
This. This a million times. A comfortable car that doesn’t make you hate yourself+the car and uses a bit more fuel is infinitely better than an uncomfortable car that gets a little better fuel economy.
Agree 100%. When you’re on the road that much it pays to have some sort of enjoyment out of it. It’s your life, it’s your time. People seem to forget that.

Spend a little more on something halfway decent, expect to lose a little bit of fuel economy and spend a little more on maintenance. And it’ll be a much better experience.

There are a few members on club Lexus that have documented their 30,000-50,000 yearly commutes. It’s a lot more enjoyable in a Lexus GS350 than a 2010 Prius. I put 180,000 miles on a Lexus LS460 and I loved every second of it. It was like driving around in my living room. I averaged 26 mpg, and lost probably $700-$900 bucks a year in fuel compared to a Passat or Accord. Well worth it for me.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
12,601
Location
Jupiter, Florida
There are no "uncomfortable" cars sold in the last 50 years. At 65 cents a mile the OP could really make bank with the right one.
Nonsense. I do this for a living, I'm here to tell 'ya, there are seats that cut off circulation and sit too low with the lower cushion tapering up in the back (non anatomical) (Honda Accord) and seats that are way too narrow (smaller Fords) and seats that are designed correctly (some Nissan)
 
Joined
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Out of over 700 cars owned from a 1956 Packard to late models, I can't say I found any to be particularly uncomfortable and that includes a Yugo, Smart cars, air cooled Beetles, Honda Insights, etc. Now if you have back problems, you may be more sensitive.
 
Joined
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Out of over 700 cars owned from a 1956 Packard to late models, I can't say I found any to be particularly uncomfortable and that includes a Yugo, Smart cars, air cooled Beetles, Honda Insights, etc. Now if you have back problems, you may be more sensitive.
You are applying your own bias on that assessment. With over 50% of Americans overweight or obese, there's a reason why SUVs and pickup trucks are popular, many obese people won't fit in a regular car. Ever watch someone morbidly obese get into a car? You can watch the suspension sink or rise when they get in/out.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
12,151
Location
Suburban Washington DC
You are applying your on bias on that assessment. With over 50% of Americans overweight or obese, there's a reason why SUVs and pickup trucks are popular, many obese people won't fit in a regular car. Ever watch someone morbidly obese get into a car? You can watch the suspension sink or rise when they get in/out.
Well, I'm probably a few pounds overweight yet have no desire to regularly drive SUVs and pickup trucks. Maybe I should amend "Now if you have back problems, you may be more sensitive." to, Now if you have back problems or are obese, you may be more sensitive.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
6,275
Location
Southeast
Without knowing exactly how many miles you’ll actually be driving, tough to pick between the two. The good news is I‘m Sure you can change your mind and take the other option later on.

As for the actual driving, I don’t think I’d be all that concerned. I drive 25,000 miles per year on average and don’t get reimbursed anything. Been doing it for over ten years now.

Pick a reliable vehicle - if it’s your Mazda, then good, go with that - and drive it. You’ll go through tires quicker, brakes, and fluid changes, BUT if it’s mostly highway miles? Out of pocket repairs might not be that much. Hopefully your insurance covers glass, because you will go through windshields. Highway mileage is great but it’s a bear on your front end (paint, glass). Keep your alignments up to date if you can, it might save on tires. Watch your tire pressures. Keep the vehicle clean, inside and out. Get yourself on a rust prevention regimen (if you live in the salt belt). Buy good snow tires (if you’ll see winters/ice/snow). Change your fluids when you’re supposed to, and rotate those tires every 7,000 miles. Have plenty of windshield washer fluid on hand. Keep a set of jumper cables in your car, maybe a milk crate with some basic fluids stored in it and a good flashlight. And keep your AAA membership up to date, just in case. Fingers crossed, I’ve never broken down in the 250,000 miles I’ve driven in the last ten years.

I’ve been lucky (knock on wood) with my commuting, but I have run into a few “experiences”.

A turkey ran across the highway one morning and tried to jump over my hood. I was going 75 mph, it never made it past my passenger side mirror.

Turkey number 2 — tried to make it across a side road, it successfully made it into the right side of my bumper instead.

I’ve almost hit a few deer (thank god I’ve missed them). Turkey’s are one thing, deers are another.

I’ve had several older Toyota Camry’s and Dodge Caravans try to end my life, luckily I have good brakes. But I’ll tell you what. If you’re ever next to a 1999-2005 Camry or Caravan on the highway? Move at least a lane away.🤣🤣 I’m really not kidding.

Pickup trucks are now dominating the highways, get ready to have headlights right into your rear view mirror. And expect to look down at your speedometer (as you’re going 75) and there will be an F-150 or Chevy grill an inch away from your rear bumper. 😁😁

But I actually like driving, some day I wouldn’t mind finding a job that payed me to do it. Maybe when I retire.
last night my wife and I drove 2.5 hours each way to meet our daughter for dinner. Our druthers was to take the little Lexus GS, a camry-sized sedan, reasonably quiet, comfortable enough, good highway mpg, and it’s all the car we needed. BUT, for the very reasons stated here we took the work-spec f-150. everyones headlights are above its trunk lid, and the side mirrors get full in-beam doses at night. the truck tends to get more highway use than the car, for this and other similar reasons.

with as many features as we’ve got, it’s a mystery to me why we don’t have dimming side mirrors.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
12,151
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Suburban Washington DC
Pickup trucks are now dominating the highways, get ready to have headlights right into your rear view mirror. And expect to look down at your speedometer (as you’re going 75) and there will be an F-150 or Chevy grill an inch away from your rear bumper. 😁😁
With the way gas prices are going, many owners of pickups used as daily drivers will be dumping them and getting comfortable in a smaller car.
 
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