Buying a Car: An Excel™lent Adventure
Choosing the Right Car
You could begin this project in a number of different places. Let’s start by tackling the question of which car. Car buying can be a very emotional decision, made without much regard to cost and money. For the purpose of this exercise, you will need to be at least a little analytical. Start by making a list of cars you might like to own. Since this is for a technology course, type up your list.
Once you have at least three and no more than ten cars, we’ll begin the research. You may know which one you want, but we want you to look at the test from an economic standpoint before making a commitment.
What would each car cost? Let’s start by looking at the price of the car. Go to one of these sites and find the price of each car new.
Research the price of the cars new at three sites (or another one that you’re familiar with):
Auto insurance is a big part of the cost of driving for young drivers. You may shop online for insurance at
You will find that you will have to give some personal information in order to get an online quote. Price coverage with three companies for the cars that you are considering. Place that on another spreadsheet or tab. If you'd like to see what this looks like, click on the image to get a screen shot:
(You can rename the tabs by right clicking on them and choosing “Rename”.
Total Cost of Ownership
Did you notice the Total Cost of Ownership tab? Here’s an important concept: The cost of a car is much more than its price and insurance. Of course, there’s gas, but there’s also depreciation, maintenance, resale value, and other items. There are organizations that track these figures and you can access the information on the web. The insurance information is going to be the most inaccurate, since you are a teen driver, but you can still use the figures to compare which cars, relatively speaking, are the most costly.
For new cars, you can find this information at
Using the pull down menu, input the information for cars you are interested in. When you have retrieved the information about a car, copy it into Excel, following these steps:
You can now copy the columns by:
Start up Microsoft Excel (or any other spreadsheet program) and paste in the information.
It’s possible that you will
find that the information is not truly in columns that you can use. The
Landmark Project for Schools
web site , by
When your information is in columns, delete extra columns and rows. This will enable you to use them for making calculations and graphs.
Make sure you label your information for each car. Based on the information about true cost of ownership, which of the cars on your list would make the most sense?
Make a Chart
Now, create a graph/chart to present your information in the way you think is most appropriate.
You can also find directions for making graphs at:
WinPlanet or search under “Microsoft Excel charts” for other tutorials.
Before moving on to the next section, look at the Crash test results at the NHTSA, National Traffic Safety Administration . How does your choice stack up now?
Upon completing this section, you should have the following: