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Let me start with the claim that a converted Sprinter is one of the cheapest dog show vehicles to own, and then back it up with some proof!

Let me compare a few vehicles.  I'll start with a Sprinter with a very nice conversion package.  Then, I'll look at the tried-and-true Ford extended length E350 passenger van, both 'new' and the ever-popular "30,000 mile one-year-old lease for $9,000 less", and finally a simple minivan.  Note that none of the competition have awnings, generators, roof A/C, cabinetry, or even sufficient lighting.  However, the Sprinter has it's disadvantages: 50% more room than the ford E350 (how much will it cost to fill that space?!?), room to stand up inside, and that awful problem of NOT having those spare bench seats to fill up your garage!

  Sprinter Ford E350,new Ford E350,used Minivan
Vehicle life, in miles              400,000              200,000              170,000 125,000
Miles driven per year                35,000                35,000                35,000                35,000
mpg 22 13 13 23
Vehicle purchase price  $            47,000  $            27,000  $            18,000  $            22,000
vehicle depreciation per mile  $                0.12  $                0.14  $                0.11  $                0.18
Vehicle deprecation per year  $          4,112.50  $          4,725.00  $          3,705.88  $          6,160.00
Fuel cost, per gallon  $                2.10  $                2.10  $                2.10  $                2.10
Gallons of fuel, per year                  1,591                  2,692                  2,692                  1,522
Cost of fuel, per year  $          3,340.91  $          5,653.85  $          5,653.85  $          3,195.65
Total cost per mile driven  $                0.21  $                0.30  $                0.27  $                0.27
True total costs, per year  $          7,453.41  $        10,378.85  $          9,359.73  $          9,355.65
annual cost, over a Sprinter    $          2,925.44  $          1,906.32  $          1,902.24

There are a few things to point out.  First, notice the vehicle life.  The Sprinter is a diesel designed and built by Mercedes Benz for both Freightliner and Dodge, it will last twice as long as gasoline vehicles.  Next, look at the fuel economy.  The longest Sprinter vans really do get 22 mpg, and the smaller versions do even better.  And this price includes the van with lots of bells and whistles, if you strip it back a comparable configuration, you knock 20% off the total vehicle price.

Don't take my word for it, do the math yourself.  How long do you drive a vehicle?  How many miles do you drive every year?  What is your fuel economy?  You can figure what it costs you now with what you are driving.

You should also consider maintenance costs.  With the Sprinter, you only change the oil every 10,000 miles.  And if you change the oil yourself, it'll be the easiest oil change you've ever done.  And, being a diesel, there are no spark plugs to replace.  You may have heard that diesels don't like cold weather, but I've started them in sub-zero weather, without "plugging in" the engine like you see with all the other diesels.  And, it is a quiet diesel, it is no louder than your average gasoline engine.

With all this, it may sound as though I'm describing the perfect vehicle.  Well, not quite, the Sprinter has flaws like every other vehicle.  However, I believe it's the best option for anyone showing dogs, and can double as a drive-to-work vehicle as well.

If you would like to discuss any of this, just give us a call!