Early this morning I took my "new" truck in for its 5000-mile oil change and for a recall notice. I've had the truck 60 days, so that's about 83 miles a day of driving. At this rate I'll have 100,000 miles in 3.3 years. Hey wait a minute -- that's what I put on my old truck in the same length of time. This warrants further examination.

I've traded in most of my vehicles after they hit the 100,000-mile point because the extended warranty expires at that time. If I take the difference between the cost of the new truck and what I got in trade-in for the old one and divide that difference by the number of miles I drove, I spent 26 cents a mile. Add my fuel costs to that and I'm up to 35 cents a mile.

Then there are the service and maintenance costs. Just getting my 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000-mile major services, which I am required to do under the extended warranty agreement, averaged about $750 each. In addition there is the oil, filter and lube that I get every 5000 miles. My last one cost me $62 at Jiffy Lube. They are more expensive because I have a diesel that takes twelve quarts of oil. Not counting the three major service costs that included oil changes, I had 17 oil changes totaling $1054.

There were a number of warranty repairs that each cost me $50 deductible. Then there were all the other things that happened which were not covered under my warranty or insurance. Things like the two times I had to have the front brake pads replaced, the dent my horse kicked in the side, the new windshield, the tree that dented my quarter panel, the rental car costs when it was in the shop, and the two sets of new tires. My large 285/76-16 tires run around $135 each, installed, so that's $1080 just for tires.

Wisely I didn't keep track of all of this because the total cost of it would have greatly upset me. Taken one thing at a time the expenses are almost tolerable. All said and done, I probably spent another $4000 on these things, but that's a modest estimate. I'm probably kidding myself. I might have spent 6 grand.

Oops, I forgot to factor in the cost of insurance. Normally it runs about $1200 a year, but right after I bought my last truck, a woman pulled in into my lane and slammed on her brakes, causing me to rear-end her car. The police charged me with the accident so my insurance doubled for three years and cost me $2400 a year.

Time to get the calculator back out and add up all the expenses. Yikes!!! That comes to $14,654 or an additional 14.7 cents a mile for a total per-mile cost of about 50 cents a mile to drive my truck. That means that my drive from Pennsylvania to Colorado and back, which I do each summer, costs me $2000. Airfare is only around $300, so driving is 6.66 times more expensive than flying. It's also a lot more work and takes four days each way instead of four hours.

Just this bit of simple addition and division has depressed me. I need to either review my driving habits or get rid of my calculator.

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