Sunk Cost and the Problem with My Cars

by Chris McGinty

Back in 2019, I wrote a blog post that for every mile you put on your car you should set aside 50 cents for future repairs. What a difference four years can make. I’ve been thinking about sunk cost analysis for most of this year. I’m starting to feel like I really don’t know what I’m doing where it comes to owning and repairing my cars. There are a bunch of people who think I’m about to say they were right all along. Fear not. That’s not going to happen. What has changed is twofold.

Gary Numan – Cars

The first thing is that too much of my foldable money is going to repairs now. This is because like everything else in the strained economy of the US, the average inflation is estimated at around 4% per year, but costs have outpaced inflation in so many industries that I wonder how that can even be. Since the 90s, the cost of car repairs has doubled. I think that stays in line with the 4% per year, but the problem is that I went to cheaper mechanics in the 90s whose labour hours rate was around $40. The cheapest I’ve found recently was $120 per labour hour, and that set of repairs was a fucking train wreck so I won’t be going back. For me the cost of repairs has gotten closer to three or four times more expensive since the 90s because the low end of the labour hour rates have increased by that much.

The second thing is that I’m easily doubling my miles because Uber Eats has a guiding principle of putting you on the freeway on almost every delivery. If I work six hours delivering pizza and drive the whole time, by the end of the night I’ll have put 60 to 80 miles on my car. With Uber Eats it’ll be well over 100 miles in the same time.

I’m still mostly outpacing the repairs with my income, but it means that I have less income after the cost of business. Delivery, as done by humans, is a dying field. At some point it will actually be cheaper for the companies to just pay for the repairs on self-driving vehicles, because they do not have to pay the drivers. At that point, we’ll all have to become mechanics and be underpaid for fixing cars… sorry, we’ll be fixing the machines that fix the cars. I realize that this blog post is probably pretty bleak, but it’s a realization I had this year. The entire delivery industry is going to destroy itself and have to rebuild pretty soon.

Corrosion of Conformity – Deliverance

People keep asking me why I don’t buy a newer car so that I don’t have as many repairs, and the problem is that I have so many repairs that have been put off for so long that it might actually be legitimate at this point. The problem is that the used car market is stupid now. I can do major repairs like replace an engine for as much as it would cost to get a low end shitty car. What people are actually asking me is why I don’t overpay for a car by getting into a monthly payment. The last thing I need right now is to spend all my monthly repair money on buying a car and then the car starts breaking down.

So yeah, I don’t know what the answer is. I’ll have plenty of time to think about these things while I’m taking Jack in the Box orders from east Fort Worth to west Dallas because people don’t know how to use the ordering app. Nathan, we really need to look into a Jack in the Box sponsorship.

Chris McGinty is a delivery guy who also blogs sometimes when he’s not working too much. He’s also a blogger who delivers sometimes when his cars are working. Bleak. It’s all so bleak.

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