What Does Your Work Truck Say About You?

c4500-partytimeTo my Brothers of the construction trades, the oil industry, the armed forces, and even plain old civilian office jobs.

I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, because I think we should all be free to make our own choices. But with the recent oil boom and bust, and the even bigger housing boom we are just starting to roll with here in the ‘States, there’s a big chunk of your money at stake, and I’d rather see you hold onto it instead of seeing it go up in smoke. So I’m just going to put this out there nice and clear:

Your Work Truck is Killing You, and making you look like a Big Dumbass in the process.

Now don’t get me wrong – not every work truck is a money-burning rolling clown circus with a 24/7 fireworks show shooting out of its roof telling the world how dumb you are. Only about 99% of them. So if you’re fortunate enough to already be in that top 1% who knows how to buy and operate a real work truck, you can just laugh along with me and then share the lesson with our other Brothers* when you get out of class.

“So what’s wrong with my truck?”

I know how you feel – trucks are fun, and everybody has ’em. How could this be wrong? To figure it out, let’s review the basics of what a truck is really supposed to accomplish.

  1. To make you money.
  2. To make you look good in front of other people.

You could get more complicated and start talking about horses and cupholders, but if you break it all the way down, those two points above are why we buy trucks.

You could say a truck needs to carry you and your crew to work, or haul your tools, materials and trailers. But why are you delivering yourself to work? Why are you bringing the tools and materials in the first place? To make money. These machines are business tools, designed to make us a profit.

And you could pretend a truck is only a business tool, but that would be ignoring the fact that your choice of truck says something about you – to the ladies, to other men, and to your employer. Or if you’re doing well, to the customers of the business you own yourself. What message do you want to convey to these people?

So Where’s the Problem?

The problem arises when you don’t understand the Two Commandments of Truck Ownership, and buy yourself something that doesn’t really meet those goals.

The Money


Look at this truck, compared to the one at the top of the article. Which guy would you rather hire to build a foundation for you?

A truck makes money by carrying as much shit as possible, safely, to your destination. This allows you to earn a good day’s pay. But the truck also costs you money, which is taking back a portion of that paycheck. The amount you get to keep for yourself is your profit. Since your goal is a nice fat profit, you obviously want to pick the truck that burns the smallest amount of your hard-earned cash.

The Looking Good

But you also want to enjoy the driving, right? You want good handling, a comfortable interior, and you want other people to see how well you are doing.  Maybe some flashy accessories and huge off-road tires, because hey, why wouldn’t you want to give your truck superpowers?

And this is the downfall of most truck-owning men. Because a truck that makes you a lot of money, and a truck that handles and accelerates (or climbs 45 degree boulder fields) and has the comfort of a car, are two completely opposite things. In fact, they are so far apart, that the more flashy and comfortable your truck becomes, the more obvious it becomes that you are not using it to make money.

In other words, you are telling the world you’re a big fake. Or at least that you’re too dumb to know the difference. Neither of these is a very impressive message to send.

How to Choose The Right Tool for the Job

So now we know a truck is a tool. It’s a tool for carrying heavy shit, and making money. We can take the emotions of vehicle ownership out of it by just comparing it to a drill.

When I need to make a small, precise hole in something, I’ll grab my smallest drill – currently this little Ryobi 18V deal. It’s the perfect tool for the job: lightweight, plenty tough as I’ve built quite a few houses with these things, and it only set me back about 50 bucks.ryobi

Of course, sometimes you need more power. To drill through a concrete foundation, I use this hammer drill. It does stuff the little cordless could only dream of, but in exchange it is so big you have to angle it properly to even carry it through a doorframe.


Then when things get really tough, I use the drill press. I have a Ridgid 15″ machine, which is the largest one I could find. With this thing, I can drill 50 half-inch holes through half-inch steel plate without breaking a sweat. On the downside, it weighs 163 pounds.

Now, when I need to drill a few small holes to set some hinges, which of these drills do you think I grab? Of course, I use the little Ryobi.

And yet, when a man buys a 360-horsepower pickup truck and uses it for anything smaller than hauling an excavating machine, this is what he is doing:


The Wrong Tool for the Job: this is what you are doing, if you use a full-sized pickup truck for anything smaller than hauling multi-ton loads. And I’m not even going to mention the folly of using a pickup truck to commute to an office job. Fuck.

In Ecuador, they know how to use trucks.

In Ecuador, they know how to use trucks.

See, when you buy a truck, you look smart only at those moments you are maxing that thing out. Payload and towing load at 100% of rated capacity, 16-foot lumber on the roof rack, and the cabin full to the limits of comfort. At that moment, the truck is earning the money you paid for it. Unfortunately for most gentlemen, this moment is Never.

At all other moments, you’re showing you bought too much truck. You are using the 163 pound drill press to countersink tiny screws in a door frame. You are wasting your own money and looking to the rest of the world like a dumbass who can’t choose the right truck. And unfortunately for most truck owners, this is Always.

For every inch you raise the suspension or every bump in tire size, you’re burning up thousands of your own dollars. For every extra horsepower you have on tap, the story is the same. If you want proof, just look at what the professionals use: real trucks that make millions of dollars for the owners who run fleets of them look like this:

Walmart is run by billionaires - they know how to use trucks.

Walmart is run by billionaires – they know how to use trucks.

Note the design of this real truck. As low to the ground as possible. Tires designed to roll easily on pavement, because pavement – not dirt – is where you make money. An engine big enough to haul the most profitable load, but no bigger. Fully loaded, these things take well over a minute to get to 65MPH – so why are you paying so much to get your work truck there in under ten seconds?

Sure, motor power is fun. But you know what is much more fun? Money power. Just by making different truck choices, you can end up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, or invested in your business making more money for you. At that point, your employees will be driving your fleet of slow trucks, while you can kick back with a fast car if you choose to do so.

Examples of Badass vs. Stupid Work Trucks

Now for the fun part of the lesson. All of this makes more sense if we go through a few real-world examples, and explain what they say about the man who drives them.

The Ridiculously Overpriced New Truck:


Only $66,610 (plus taxes/fees) after rebate!

Trucks like this scream, “I am a sucker for shiny toys and am horrible with my money!”

The new truck market is such a racket. I recently biked by this Ford “Super Duty” at the local dealership, and was astounded at the price. At over $70 grand including tax, this thing is an insane money pit. The depreciation alone in the first year is more than most of its customers actually manage to take home from their jobs. Even if you need to tow 20,000 pounds,  you can get an equally useful used truck, a trailer, and a Bobcat or small track-drive excavator to start your landscaping or concrete business for this much coin.

The Jacked up Boy Toy


“I’m bad with money, AND I don’t ever use my truck for real work!”

A truck like this leads a predictable life. It starts out as a ridiculously overpriced new truck (see above). After taking a $50,000 depreciation hit, the original owner trades it for a newer truck with a bigger loan, and a younger man comes in and buys it for $25,000, also on credit. He then spends another $15,000 on customization, making the truck less stable on the highway and the cargo bed even more useless.

Next he blows $15,000 on gas, then eventually runs into money problems and tries to sell it. After months of fruitless advertising, he gives up and lets it go for $9,000, which doesn’t even cover the loan he has on it. He may go bankrupt.  Meanwhile, the miniscule 6-foot cargo bed has never carried anything larger than a washer/dryer and a couch, as shown by its immaculate $450 decorator bedliner treatment.

The Millionaire Business Owner’s Workhorse


“I have a successful business, so please step aside as I have shit to do.” The Isuzu standard truck (sold in the US as Chevrolet W4500)

Meanwhile, quietly working in the background while this clown circus goes on are real trucks like this one. Notice how this W4500 (which costs less than a “Super Duty”) does not waste space on any bullshit. Instead of a 14-foot hood and cab up front with a uselessly small cargo bed in the back (all Hat and no Cattle), this truck reverses the ratio. These carry ten times the cargo of American-style pickups, while using less gas and being easier to maneuver into tight spots. You can also get them with dump or box beds, and they will haul a hell of a trailer as well. Depreciation is much slower with these, so you can buy a used one, and sell it many years later for almost the same price if you keep it maintained.

The Future Millionaire’s Truck

If you are earlier in your career or don’t frequently load and unload multi-ton cargo loads with a forklift, you can do very well with a truck like this:

Mazda B2300 or Ford Ranger - ideal work trucks

“I generally carry less than two tons, and I like to keep the money I earn from working” – Mazda B2300 or Ford Ranger – ideal work trucks. But avoid the 4-wheel-drive and V-6 engine options. Keep that money for yourself.

This beauty is owned by one of the guys who built the foundation for a house I’m currently helping out with. Note the fully loaded cargo bed and the excellent roof rack. This truck has a 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission and will deliver reasonable 30MPG efficiency if you drive it properly. Lower height means easier loading and unloading and better handling. Lower cost (under 5 grand on the used market) means much more money for you.

My own Work Trucks

Here's my van collecting 1200 pounds of logs for firewood.

“I think minivans are a ridiculous invention for carrying 60-pound kids, but great inventions for heavy construction work.”  Here’s my van collecting 1200 pounds of logs for firewood.

At this stage with plenty in the bank, I have grown soft and have a bit more truck than I need. It’s a 1999 Honda van with 140,000 miles on it. I bought it for $4,800 four years ago, and current market value is maybe 3 grand. Less than what the juniors with no money spend on their wheels and tires alone.

And this thing can work. I have carried over 2,500 pounds comfortably, it can lock up a full selection of tools and keep them dry, and with the seats out you can close the rear door on 12-foot pieces of lumber or a stack of 20 full sheets of plywood. This is the truck I use now, but most of my carpentry career was done with something far less luxurious.

El Amarillo

The Amarillo - more than enough for 90% of truck users.

“I live my life to the fullest and waste nothing on silly frills” – The Amarillo – more than enough for 95% of truck users.

Back when money was tighter (I only had $700,000 in the bank but at least my house was paid off), I had this older truck – a 1984 Nissan compact pickup. This thing built multiple houses and kitchens, carried steel girders and landscaping materials,  and protected me from weather of all seasons. It has an aftermarket cupholder on the driveshaft hump which is currently full of hardened surf wax and 10 Peso coins.

And I didn’t even own it. I borrowed it for five years (in exchange for upkeep) from a good friend, who had earlier used it to cross the Continental Divide and Death Valley on his way to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, where the truck served as his beachside home for an extended surfing-based stay.

So heed my advice, men of all ages who are not yet millionaires and wish they were. Your truck may be the biggest obstacle in your way.

The size of your truck is inversely proportional to the size of your wallet. Which one of the two would you rather supersize?

Related Reading (now that you realize you probably don’t need a truck at all):

Top 10 Cars for Smart People

Turning a Little Car into a Big One


* I speak mostly to men in this article, because they are the primary victims of the pickup truck racket. But women are not immune – they just tend to fall into the “SUV and Minivan” trap more often.

  • Jonathan June 29, 2015, 12:52 pm

    In a short week’s time, I’ve decided I’m done with the over priced Tacoma. I’ve found a guy that owns a 1991 Ford Ranger with 29,7xx miles. I’ve seen the truck, it was coated for rust when it was new (underbody, the 90’s version of Rhino skin). It’s got a slightly thirstier 3.0 V6 than the 4 cyl. I want. Nothing’s wrong with it; it’s been babied and stored for 24 years. The guy is asking $7500. Won’t budge because he knows the damn truck is immaculate. I use my current truck maybe 5k miles per year; farm chores, hauling wood for my house that I heat 90% with wood heat in the Midwest, etc. I wanna pay the guy the $ but KBB says $4200–and everyone I know says I’m crazy. Thoughts? Maybe from MMM himself? I plan on using this thing till it dies…

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 20, 2015, 8:55 am

      Johnathan, that man is off his rocker!! $7500 for a 1991 gas guzzler?

      You can get an early-2000s 4-cylinder 5-speed Ranger for about $2000 if you shop around. Some of them even have reasonably low mileage. At 5k miles/year, this $2000 truck will last a lifetime, or at least until you replace it with a 2025 Ranger Electric somewhere around the year 2040.

      So why pay $7500 for something older with worse emissions controls that burns way more gas?

      • spartana September 12, 2015, 3:24 pm

        $7500 is wayyyyy too much. I’m a girl with a truck – 2001 Ford Ranger 5 speed XLT extra cab with 105K miles – worth $1700 – $2000 KBB. I paid $4000 for it in 2008 and it’s ran fine ever since. No way should Johnathon pay that much for a truck when there are great used Rangers to be had for a fraction of the cost. Sis drives a 2000 4-cylinder Nissan Frontier she bought new for under $10K and now has 180K miles on it. KKB value is also $1500 – $2500. She’ll also keep that until it dies in hopefully many more years.

  • Aaron August 10, 2015, 12:09 am

    Okay, WAIT A MINUTE. I read through almost all those comments and is NOBODY going to give props for that photo of the 163-pound Rigid drill being used on the 1×4??!!! This is my first visit to this site, and that got me right there. I dunno who you are Mr Mustache dude, but that picture killed me. FRIGGIN HILARIOUS. You, sir, will be hearing from me again. I intend to be back. Thank you!

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 10, 2015, 11:08 am

      Finally – thanks Aaron! I thought I was being pretty funny when I posed for that picture, but I figured I was wrong when nobody mentioned it. Luckily at least half the fun of running this blog is laughing at my own jokes, so my feelings weren’t hurt.. but I appreciate it. cheers!

      • Eldred August 10, 2015, 11:21 am

        I thought I *did* see someone mention it before…? Maybe it got deleted.

      • Aaron August 10, 2015, 12:19 pm

        No, I figured your feelings weren’t hurt but your back might be! Ha! That picture, for me, summed up the whole article: Imagine the ridicule you’d endure on the job site if someone saw you do this; now understand that this is what you are doing with your truck. The end.

        Cheers back at ya bro.

  • Mark September 20, 2015, 11:41 am

    Lets talk about this from a customer point of view. I am not a tradesman. I have employed many though over the years.
    If you turn up in the Amarillo I am going to think why cant this guy afford a proper vehicle. Is his work so bad he doesn’t get recommended? Does he have a drinking, drug or gambling problem? I have hired a few that turned out to have such problems, predictably they all drove fairly beat up old vehicles. The thought that will not cross my mind is this is a super money smart guy and future millionaire. The Mini Van may well give me the same concerns.

    If you turn up in either one of the first jacked up high powered fancy trucks I am immediately going to think this guy charges to much if he can afford a truck like this, or he is such a total poser he probably spends all day standing around telling everyone how good he is and not doing any work. I should look for some other quotes.

    The 4 cylinder 5 speed in the photo that belongs to the man who built your foundation. That is the sweet spot. It looks clean, body is solid, paint is clean, no rust no bondo. It looks like a smart cared for vehicle that is appropriate for the task. It says this guy is sensible. It also says this guy probably cares about his work because he cares about his vehicle enough to maintain it well. This is the guy I hire.

    Now the actual “trucks” the industrial variety. If the job justifies it I am totally going to respect the guy who turns up in one. If he rolls up with a few ton of pavers and, a concrete mixer and bobcat etc. He is the man. If he shows up with a toolbox a few drills and screwdrivers, I am confused. Really confused. I don’t think that happens with people who drive real trucks.

  • duncan cairncross September 20, 2015, 5:04 pm

    Here in NZ some people have trucks – mostly smaller ones
    But most of us use the “flexible truck” – a car or estate car (I have a Subaru Legacy)
    and a trailer
    My trailer will carry more than most trucks and it costs almost nothing to run
    Even better 90% of the time it’s at home and I’m driving a comfortable car

    • John September 28, 2015, 1:45 pm

      Yes! first mention of a trailer!

      Here in the frozen north of Canada, you can rent a 10′ trailer from Uhaul for about $25 a day. You drive there, they hook it up, you drive off, do your hauling and return it. Easy.

      A cheap, new trailer costs about $500 but that’s a really low budget model. You have to license it and maintain it so add $50 each year for that. Further, you have to store it somewhere. Unless you have other ridiculous things (triple car garage, etc), you probably don’t want to deal with that hassle.

      Uhaul licenses, maintains and stores the trailer. Plus their trailer is not the same as the $500 budjet ones, we’re talking box steel construction all around with a metal ramp capable of holding in excess of 3500lbs.

      I need a trailer about 2-5 times a year, each time for a day or less. The $50-125 I *may* pay is more than worth it compared to buying a trailer.

  • chris September 23, 2015, 9:31 pm

    I have read this blog from the beginning to this post in about a week and it is so fun to know that my husband’s work truck (self-employed pest control) is so very Mustachian. Paid cash, $4800, low miles, FWD Ford Ranger. My husband, by the nature of his work, drives that liitle thing all over our city and the gas usage is minimal. For a truck, it is pretty frugal. And no more than presentable. No fancy graphic wrap, a simple white paint job, factory basic everything. The insurance is cheap, the gas is cheap and it is dependable…all factors that are eaving more profit for building our future. Now, if I could just convince my family to sell the TV. Bleh.

    • Phil Hinkle March 1, 2016, 5:14 pm

      I too use a Ford ranger as my work truck Mine is a single cab 4 cyl with a 5 speed. I haul tools and install retractable screens and power shades. I also have a small Harbor Freight trailer for the shades that are too big for my truck. Love the gas mileage. Perfect truck for my business

  • Pickup Man September 26, 2015, 9:03 pm

    This page is full of city slickers that don’t understand that driving off road is necessary for many of the lifted truck owners. Think of all the farmers that need to get to their cow that just had a calf but there is a foot of snow on; he isn’t going to take a 2 wheel drive Honda. I garuntee that if you tried taking those Hondas in extreme off road conditions (mud,snow,mountains) that you would be flagging down a 4 wheel drive truck begging the driver to pull you out. So if you live in the city and don’t drive anywhere but stoplight to your office job and are not interested in having sex then I don’t blame you for being happy with your Honda.

    • Mr. Money Mustache September 27, 2015, 12:51 pm

      You got it, Pickup Man! Most of the world’s population (and especially readers of this blog) are indeed city slickers. And yet our cities are full of trucks that never see cargo or mud. That’s who this post is for.

      For that 1% of truck owners who really do use them mostly on farms, have fun and go for it! A truck with just enough power and space to do the heavy lifting, and a nice, old Civic or similar for those times you find yourself driving into town and hauling less than 1000 lbs. A winning combo.

  • Anthony September 27, 2015, 1:34 pm

    My grandma has a 1990 Nissan compact 4-banger just like The Amarillo, except it has a much more stylish dark grey and rust splotch finish. It gets borrowed by various family members for various hauling tasks and is a workhorse. It is also surprisingly desirable. People cold-call her asking to buy it on a regular basis.

  • Anthony October 22, 2015, 8:39 am

    I think in most cases I agree with these comments of wasted money in expensive trucks, but I think this article on the whole is very small minded and opinionistic. I’m betting the writer is a democrat.

    I have never, and will never own a “jacked up truck”, but those who do never intend on using it as a tool. It is a toy, you said it yourself. It’s the exact same as someone who spends their money on a boat, RV, lavish vacations, or any other depreciating item of enjoyment. Who are you to decide what allows this person enjoy his life. Maybe he doesn’t value the same things you do. Maybe a big flashy truck IS his aspiration in life.

    Now on the flip side of the coin you have my personal case. I drive one of these $70k+ MSRP trucks. It’s extremely capable, and comfortable. I own a successful oil & gas contracting business. My dodge gets over 20mpg highway and the diesel engine will last me as long as I want it to. I drive all over this country to job sites managing my crews and projects and sales. The more time on the road the more likely you are to get hit. I’d rather be in something safer than a 20 year old minivan with logs in the cab. I have a mega cab and my passengers can lean back in the back and be comfortable. I LITERALLY spend more time in my truck than I do in my bed, or my house, or even my hometown for that matter.

    And only a fool would pay MSRP. I never walked out of there without getting 12-18k off MSRP. The last purchase, I received $40k in trade value on a truck I bought for $49k new, 3 years and 82,000 miles later.

    I feel my lavish ride offers me more quality of life than a frugal effort would. You’re suggesting I make sacrifices to the majority of my life to afford an extra 2 weeks in Europe with my wife on a trip. Which has greater rewards? Also, the big comfortable seat that allows my body to be supported correctly on long hauls keeps my back healthier than driving a small truck around. Of course, in fairness, that is probably only something a 6’6″ 250 pound man has to concider.

    You’re also ignoring the considerable tax benefits with buying a new 3/4 ton or greater truck to business owners. I get almost as much deduction in taxes from my lavish expense than the cost of the truck, depreciation included.

    I’ll note that two weeks ago I was rear ended on I-20 and my big truck saved my life and that of my passenger. Another party, two women, also rear ended driving a “frugal” car paid for it with their life.

    I stumbled on this article while researching the pains of owning a black truck/car but felt compelled to point out the narrow vision of this article. This seems to be a bunch of people in a support group to make themselves feel better and justified in their frugal lives.

    • Mr. Money Mustache October 29, 2015, 5:45 pm

      A good take on the standard American consumer’s thought processes, Anthony.. but I sure wish you’d stick around and read this blog from the beginning. I think you might get some serious benefit from it.

    • Kenbo October 29, 2015, 8:13 pm

      These articles are made to challenge what we believe to be normal consumerist decisions. They present alternatives to minimize consumption with the goal of becoming financially independent. With financial independence comes the power to live life however you wish. It’s main goal is to make people think about their decisions. If you have an alternative that works for you then keep it up. By no means are these the only ways.

    • Jared October 30, 2015, 8:19 am

      Despite safety risks, I choose to drive a Hyundai Elantra for family trips, and a Honda Helix 250cc scooter for personal trips. The Elantra gets upwards of 33mpg on an average trip, and the scooter gets 70mpg (and will hit 70mph, so easily highway capable). Though its not a major concern to me, both vehicles happen to be extremely comfortable.

      As a result, I attempt to drive safely and cautiously. I wish others would, as well. If we all drove responsibly, safety wouldn’t be a concern regardless of vehicle size. Driving isn’t a competition or a battle. I’m just trying to get somewhere. The safety concern concept assumes I should never ride my bicycle or walk somewhere without wearing plate armor. What if I get hit by a car, or a piano gets dropped on my head? What if I get mugged? There are what if’s for everything, but that won’t stop me from living a practical and conscious life. If comfort and safety are your biggest concerns, surely a private jet would prove to be even better? But thats not practical. Its not helpful. Its a resource hog and it won’t provide enough return for the investment. To me, that’s your truck. Its not a justification of my frugal life, its the truth. Why own something more than what you need?

      “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
      -Henry David Thoreau

      Are you living? Or are you just a successful business owner consuming your way through life?

      • Anthony October 30, 2015, 6:53 pm


        All for the arguement and thought, but it’s off-putting when people make claims on things they can’t possibly know in order to support said arguement. No one should generalize claims about the happiness of others as a result of their lifestyle based on their own preferences.


        I guess it is important to note that it is impossible to, efficiently, get the heavy equipment I am paid to use across this country in a Vespa or an Elantra.

        But I guess that is irrelevant because I’m not trying to justify my purchase in that way. I’m trying to make the point that just because you (the writer) or you (the agreeing reader) are happier with a minimalist lifestyle, doesn’t mean that I would be or many others would be. I am very wasteful in other areas of my life as well. I live in a over-the-top luxury high rise downtown skyline view condo with my wife wearing her overly-expensive Tiffany ring.

        On the private airplane comment. Your arguement is sound. And if a private jet was capable of fitting in my budget I certainly would buy one. Or rent one. Or join Netjets or something.

        On the safe driving front. I am probably in the 99th percentile on safe driving. I drive responsibly and safely. It annoys me to to watch all the unsafe drivers fight their way through traffic and tailgate me dangerously in attempts to push me over just to do the same to the car in front of me that I had a comfortable space between. But that’s the problem. It’s not me, it’s everyone else I’m worried about. I don’t care how safe you are, unfortunate things can and do happen. You can have the “if it’s my time, it’s my time” attitude or you can try to be prepared. I don’t think I’d ride my bike on a busy highway. Or jog. I might do that in areas where I have LESS risk of getting hit. Likewise, just because I drive a big truck, doesn’t mean I’m impervious. It can still happen, but I’m at lower risk and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

        Is the fool the ant who saved for the winter or the grasshopper who did nothing? You’d use this arguement to rationalize your budget, but ignore it when it comes to preparing for the worst on the road?

        • Bill November 2, 2015, 8:26 am

          But Anthony, you are also making claims about things you don’t know about. You say you have a “preference” for conspicuous consumption, but how do you know if you haven’t lived the frugal lifestyle when you have excess? If you have a job that pays enough to afford the kind of ridiculous consumption on display here, you could easily retire in a year and do something more meaningful than destroy the entirety of the earth. But hey, maybe you can buy another one if this earth gets messed up too bad by your lifestyle. If you stopped driving all over God’s green earth to find more parts if it to destroy, you wouldn’t be in such danger, eh?

    • Phil Hinkle March 5, 2016, 11:48 am


      This blog is obviously written to give readers methods to become financially independent and retire early. Saving money, living on less so you can enjoy more later. It makes sense that the less you spend day to day and the more you save, the sooner you can retire or do what you would rather do other than work. From the huge amounts of comments to this article, vehicles are some of the largest expenses most of us has other than homes. The blogs are written to get you thinking about what alternatives you can use to get the job done with less daily or monthly expense.

      This article has seemed to spark intense conversations about what is obviously a very personal choice. The tree huggers think we should all ride bikes only. This is great exercise and very cheap transportation. Others think that because I can afford a huge truck or car, I should be able to have it. I am somewhere in the middle. I follow MMM for information on living more frugal than I have in the past. I enjoy the articles. I don’t agree with everything. That’s the beauty of this. We can read and put into practice what we chose to.

      I have enjoyed reading this thread because I have had all the big gas sucking vehicles in the past. I still have a full size truck with leather heated seats and all the bells and whistles. I just don’t drive it all that often. I am already retired, with a good pension and all my vehicles are paid for. Part of me says sell the pig truck and part of me says just hold onto it. Even tho I am retired, I still have a business that requires a truck. I drive a Ford Ranger for the business. My wife’s car is a Kia Sportage. It gets decent mileage but fails by MMM standards. I guess I haven’t completely jumped into the mustachian lifestyle yet. I may never go all in but I enjoy following the blog. Who knows, Maybe I’ll sell all the cars and get a couple bikes. Someday.

  • Bobo December 8, 2015, 10:58 pm

    I really like the idea of substituting oats for cereal. Ill have to try it out soon. I have to say though that the “organic” foods and trendy diets seem contrary to mustachian principles. There’s no real meaning to organic packaging (since by definition anything you eat is organic). Most of this food has simply changed the pesticide they use to one that says “organic”. Often more is used because they’re less efficient. And despite the exhaustive research, GMOs have yet to be implicated in any adverse health affects. Everyone is of course entitled to buy as they please, but consider limiting “organic” purchases to those which you feel strongly about. Also keep in mind purchasing GMO free needlessly increases the price of food globally. While we might not notice a few cent increase, the effects are monumental in developing countries where food is limited.

  • Ray December 22, 2015, 3:37 pm

    After reading this site, and now this article, I completed a cost per mile (true ownership) cost of my vehicles. Sign.
    My 92 Nissan D21 makes me money, returning $3 for every dollar spent.
    My others, not so much.
    Hmmmmm… And I wonder where my money goes.

  • Chris Dusack January 29, 2016, 11:07 am

    First time poster here. When I moved my family into a 35+ year old ranch home, some of my friends said: “You need an SUV or a truck”. This was due to the numerous runs to the home improvement stores for plywood, two by fours, PVC piping, attic insulation, etc. Well, they were half right. I did make quite a few trips to the store (biking when it was just small parts), and I ended up purchasing a used 4×6 utility trailer. Both of our sedans already had trailer hitches attached and can safely pull about 2,000 pounds. The trailer can safely hold 1,750 pounds, eclipsing the payloads of many SUVs and trucks and only costing about $20 per year in tag fees. I’ve also been able to create some goodwill with friends and neighbors by letting them borrow it as needed. Some of those friends have SUVs and trucks!

  • Skippy February 26, 2016, 2:24 am

    My stepfather had a ute (short for coupe utility, big thing in australia. Basically manufacturers take a sedan/wagon model and install a load tray behind the front seat, but keep your non-truck luxuries, like a nice driving position, good steering, and all that other sedan stuff).

    His was based of the sports model of an Australian family sedan, so it had a 4 litre engine tied to a 5 speed, 250-odd horsepower, could outrun subaru wrx’s *on mountain ranges* both up and down and covered the quarter mile in 14.9 seconds.

    It also reliably and often up to 2500kg total, tray plus trailer (way over capacity, but it didn’t notice). About a third of its life it got loaded to around 500kg as it was used for blocklaying.

    That was a ‘truck’ worth owning. It was a 93 model too. Nothing I’ve driven, or even been in, since has matched the combination of utility, indestructibility and performance of that vehicle. Overall economy was probably around 15l/100km. Totally worth the fuel bill.

    But my mothers work supplies her with a 2000kg 4.5L turbo diesel 4wd landcruiser troop carrier (no shit, that’s what it’s called) on occasion. Because they are out bush. Never mind that you could get *three* cummins powered ssanyong 4wds for that much dough, and have lower running costs…

  • C February 28, 2016, 11:01 am

    I really hate how you spew misinformation from your high horse.

    GMC W4500 – https://www.gmupfitter.com/files/media/photo/250/2000W_MD_W3500Diesel.pdf
    GVW – 14,500 LBS
    GAWR-R – 9,880 LBS
    Torque – 347 ftlbs
    Payload – 8,955 – 9264 LBS
    Curb Weight (Est) – 5,500 LBS
    Fuel Tank – 33 Gal
    GCVWR – 14,500 LBS

    F-350 – http://www.ford.ca/trucks/superduty/specifications/
    GVW – 14,000 LBS
    GAWR-R – 9,675 LBS
    Torque – 860 ftlbs
    Payload – 6,432 – 6,475 LBS
    Curb Weight (est) – 7,500 LBS
    Fuel Tank – 38 gal
    GCVWR – 40,500 LBS

    The superduty is rated to Tow a trailer with 4 of the W4500’s on it, with one in the box somehow. A W4500 could carry a single Superduty. Price is within 10% of eachother. Stop feeding bullshit for money.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 29, 2016, 12:22 pm

      Cool, thanks for the useful stats, Mr. C – that is the right way to buy a truck!

      So, the W4500 can carry more payload, weights 2000 pounds less, has a smaller engine and fuel tank (more fuel efficient), has a much shorter hood for tight spots, and still tows a shitload of weight. I don’t see why that’s not a better truck design?

      The 350 looks like a great thing to pull bigger trailers loaded with cars being shipped, or excavators. In exchange, its an even more ridiculous truck to take downtown or to the office. That’s really what this article is about: trucks being used as cars.

    • James M July 26, 2018, 12:16 pm

      Actually it looks like the w4500 has a GCVWR of 20,500.

      Sure.. it would be nice if it was just shy of the CDL limit of 26,000 for towing heavy trailers. What is the point of having a GCVWR of 40,500 on the F350?

  • Cage Free Human March 1, 2016, 1:02 pm


    I chuckle every time I watch my short, skinny neighbor try to maneuver his f’g gigantic land-barge of a Ford SuperDouche 69,000 Diesel-Powered Physical Shortcoming Compensation Vehicle into or out of his driveway. The extended wench-housing front bumper protrudes well beyond his property line, and his lawn has permanent tire ruts from failed parking attempts.

    He also has a gigantic Suburban. But for three months, I didn’t recognize it as a Suburban, because it was absolutely dwarfed by the size of his truck. It looked more like a Scion by comparison.

    What does he haul with all of this substitute manliness? Far as I can tell, absolutely nothing.

    Anyway, all of this daily comedy inspired me to write a song, titled “Giant truck, Tiny Pen!s”: https://soundcloud.com/chairmanzeitgeist/giant-truck-tiny-pens

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 1, 2016, 4:17 pm

      Well done, Cage Free aka Chairman Zeitgeist. Fine guitar on that track and pretty funny lyrics. I’ll be sure to share that song around.

  • jacob March 4, 2016, 1:41 pm

    This was good. I am an electrician, but traded my truck a few years back to try insurance sales….which was a big mistake. I am so upside down on the car I got I would take a huge hit to trade back into a truck. I have been using an suv with a trailer, but I have not tried to pick up a lot of work because I felt like people would think I was a joke if I didn’t have a big fancy truck, but have not wanted to get into more debt. I have wrestled with either keep just getting by for the next several years till the car debt is gone and I can pay cash for a truck, or getting into more debt to try and get more work, honestly it may sound silly but it really created some insecurity issues in my business growth. Especially as I work in a rural area and everyone owns a truck. This was a good find, reading your article. I feel more confident about really getting out and trying to pick up more work despite not having the giant truck and loan!!

    • phil March 4, 2016, 4:53 pm

      Ive been in business for many years. I think a big shiny new truck does not make you more business or income. To the contrary it may make people think you are too expensive. I pit some inexpensive vinyl graphics on a clean cheap used Ford Ranger. I paid cash. Go simple, cheap and pocket more profit.

      • jacob March 6, 2016, 12:01 pm


  • Learbee March 28, 2016, 3:43 pm

    As a woman, please let me say that the bigger, louder, and more jacked up truck, the more it makes me think you must have a small penis.

    • Phil Hinkle March 29, 2016, 3:02 pm

      Now that’s funny right there

  • J March 30, 2016, 8:52 am

    Anyone who finances anything is a sucker…if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. As far as trucks are concerned, if you live in the middle of nowhere with snow as high as your roof in the winter and mud up to your wheel wells in the summer, you need a 4×4 truck. A cheap car or SUV would simply get stuck going down your driveway. Trucks aren’t just for hauling and towing. It is funny to see people in suburbia with jacked up “super duties” though. Those trucks have never seen any dirt and never will. lol

    • James Smith July 24, 2016, 2:20 pm

      Considering a new truck is 50+ thousand dollars, I can just by a 1500 dollar beater truck every few years and it will save me more money than if I buy a new truck and use it for 20 years.

  • Reefer March 30, 2016, 8:01 pm

    Hhahahahahahahah i’m dying on the floor laughing, first off only morons buy vehicles brand new, second can someone google what the longest lasting vehicles are, or at least resale vehicles with the highest amounts of miles (its easier to track), third you can buy a truck, insure it, drive it into the ground, abuse it, get 7-15 mpg and still come out spending less than most people who are buying cars because you can buy a used 5.3 in gold condition for 5k, lastly why, seriously why are you hating so hard on these people? It is 100% their money why are you judging people for what car they drive at all? Cars and trucks were originally made for transportation but, were they not quickly abused and adopted into something completely other than getting from point A to point B? I don’t know about all of you but I love driving, it is a hobby, whatever way you spin it it’s a hobby for me. So why crucify me for having fun and owning the vehicle that I enjoy? Why hate on people who try to enjoy there daily comute? Yes if you want to be economical buy a Prius. But I’m literally not kidding when I say I would shoot myself. I had to drive a crv for a few months and I got 12.9 mpg and man I ****ing hated that car. I don’t care what you say it never was big enough, it was uncomfortable to drive, it handled like garbage and I would literally put the gas pedal to the floor and cross my fingers getting onto the highway near me (we have little to no entrance lanes sometimes like 15 feet). But I don’t understand because this entire article literally laughed in the faces of a lot of truck owners, and don’t get me wrong you have some valid points, however, who are you to limit what I can do with my money? They say money doesn’t buy happiness, and it doesn’t, but my dad always says “money doesn’t buy happiness but, it allows you to be comfortable, I don’t see a lot of happy poor people”. But why would you just jam all your money into a bank? Yes I save a lot but I’m not cheap either if I want something that makes me enjoy myself I’m going to buy it. Especially when I can do so in an affordable way; which you absolutely can do while buying American muscle. So I just stress, stop looking down on people because you disagree with the worlds need and dependency for fossil fuel. So long as I can I will; and in case you have yet to notice diesel is the current form of huge displacement engines (yes I know it’s tragic). And even that is hugely limited by the government now a days. Also, Chevy (GM for the win!!!) is the only company who still offers a half ton v8. I beg you not to look down on those who try and enjoy life for many of these people just love what they drive. Look down on the greedy oil companies, China who burns an obscene amount of coal and opec related companies.

    Also, one more thing, I personally believe that the absolute amount of oil burned is inevitable. Meaning, if everyone drives a Prius it will just take longer to comsume this resource. Honestly the more fuel efficient our vehicles become the longer it will take for oil prices to rise enough where alternative sources of energy become mainstream and cost affective. And we all know nobody cares till it hits there wallets, so we will put off looking for other energy sources. Well… I guess truck owners don’t care what it’s there wallet.

    • Mr. Money Mustache October 5, 2016, 10:26 am

      Note to readers: I normally don’t publish rants like this one, but just thought this one was worth enjoying. No need to start a big point-by-point debate or anything.

      • MKE January 16, 2018, 4:09 pm

        What? This is not a rant. It is perfectly logical. It’s well organized, and the captions to the hilarious photos are brilliant. Truth is not a rant.

        • MKE January 16, 2018, 4:10 pm

          woops, thought you were referring to your blog, not the post.

  • Dave B April 10, 2016, 1:09 pm

    I am a car guy through and through. I am an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician and an ASE Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technician and an Automotive Technology Teacher. I not only agree with you, I often times have this same conversation with my students when they want to buy some Powerstroke/Cummins/Duramax 3/4 ton or 1 Ton 4×4 truck. I live in a rural area and I see this all the time. There are tons of coal rollin’ compensators running around with “Prius Repellant” stickers on them. It is sickening. I have never seen a need for a pickup bigger than a half ton. I figure bigger than that you would be better served by a medium duty truck (like several of the cab over straight trucks you showed in your article). I personally drive all older vehicles. I had a 96 F150 that was a leftover from my fleet mechanic/road call days that I used for pellet stove fuel pickups, part pickups ( engines, transmissions, etc for my shop classes) until the frame rusted through with 355,000 miles on it. I replaced it with a 4 cylinder 5 speed S10 that I bought with a bad engine for $800, and I spent another $600 on parts to fix it. It will do 95% of what I used my F150 for and the one or two times a year I need to tow a donated car for the school, I can rent a truck from U-Haul. It costs me $18.00 per month in insurance, gets 25 MPG around town and 30 MPG highway. It even got 29 MPG highway with a 1350 lb load in the bed for 280 miles. The auto makers share the blame though. This truck maxes out at 2200 lbs payload capacity in other countries, but is only rated to 1,400 in the USA. They want you to buy a full size truck. But in Brazil these come with spring packs with up to 5 leaves, while in the US they come with a max of 4. I put a set of helpers on my truck and it handles a full pallet of pellets (2,000 lbs) with no sweat. Granted, I can do my own work, so I always buy “mechanics specials” and fix them up for cheap, but even if I couldn’t, it would make no sense to me to buy a $65,000 pickup or $40,000 car.

    • Phil Hinkle April 12, 2016, 7:40 am

      Great work trying to teach your students about this subject. I know it probably seems like its falling on deaf ears at times but I’m sure the message sinks in. You may only turn a few but the seeds are planted in the others and some more of them may come around in a few years after they spend a fortune on their huge trucks and fuel to run them. Keep on trying.

    • Matt (Semper Fi) December 6, 2016, 10:51 pm

      “Rolling coal” has got to be in the top ten stupidest godamned things ever.

  • Tenatra April 22, 2016, 8:43 pm

    Where do I fall in this scale? I have a 94 ford ranger 4.0 with a 5 speed and 4×4? I use it to get me places hunting, it sees offroad use, and it is lifted with mud tires. I paid just $1300 for the truck itself before adding goodies, but it gets used. I use it to haul rather large loads for work as well and bring home furniture my spouse refinishes and sells. Yet I’ve been told with the lift, tires, etc that I’m over compensating by people who don’t know that I actually have less than $3000 invested in the truck. Lol.

    • Dave B April 24, 2016, 7:21 am

      Don’t worry about where you are. You did what was right for you. You aren’t towing a bass boat with an F350 crew cab duallie with a stage 4 coal Rollin’ tune and retarded wildibeast sounding 55 gallon trash can sized exhaust stack and a 12 inch lift with 44″ mud bog tires. I am happy with my four popper but if I were regularly maxing out the towing capacity (the base engine is fine for max payload) I would have gone for the V6. You bought a cheap, reliable, easy to fix and maintain truck that fits your work and recreational needs. That seems mustachian to me!

      • Phil Hinkle April 24, 2016, 11:11 am

        Exactly as Dave B said.. And who cares what other people think. They probably have big $$ investments, loans on their vehicles and bigger gas bills. Way to go.

  • Roberto June 30, 2016, 1:05 am

    Hi all. What a great blog! I just discovered it while searching for roof racks for my bare-roof little Kia. Like my late father, I have always owned small, fuel-efficient vehicles, and truly believe in their merits. My father, near the end of his life, really wanted one of those little Four-Twos, because he had met a couple who had traveled across Canada for two hundred dollars, or some ridiculously low amount like that. I wanted to comment because like many of the posters here, I have often wondered why so many of my neighbours in northern Alberta love to drive their giant personal trucks to and from work, where I know they then park it, and climb into an excavator or back-hoe, and actually do some work. But in wondering this, I have a dirty little secret to share: I also drive a big-butt 2012 Ford F250 4 to 5 days a week. In all fairness though, it is a company-owned service vehicle, and I carry and use daily all sorts of tools, equipment, and parts contained under the cap therein. The problem I face though, is the duality of my life as I perceive it! My personal vehicle is a small Kia, as I have stated, because I believe in it, but I know for my particular trade, I greatly rely on the size of my work vehicle to carry everything I need to get tasks done in the rural areas of the province, where I do not have quick and easy access to parts stores. In other words, I know I need to carry just about everything under the sun in order to get my assigned jobs done properly. I hope this doesn’t seem silly, but just last week, while driving home in my service truck, I was turning left in a double turning lane in tandem with a small car similar to my own. A tow truck blew through his red light and struck both of us–me first, and then the small car, before coming to a stop another few hundred yards further down the road. I was my first involvement in an accident after almost thirty years of driving. We were both hit in our front driver fenders, but the little car sustained much more damage, and the poor gentleman driving it complained of much more stiffness and pain than I reported afterwards when we gave our statements to the police. I still believe in reliable, fuel-efficient, and cost-effective transportation that doesn’t break the bank for working families like mine, but I can’t right now shake the feeling that the size and sheer weight of that darned F250 (fully loaded with steel parts in the rear) helped to protect me a little more than if I had been driving my own little car that day. I was only spun 90 degrees, while the little car was tossed a full 180! Luckily we both walked away, but that other victim sure looked sore! I know accidents happen everyday–maybe that’s why my late grandpa drove a gi-normous Buick!

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 1, 2016, 8:46 am

      Good thoughts Roberto.

      If I were your employer, I’d have you driving something with similar capacity but more efficiency – maybe a Ford Transit Connect or something with a trailer.

      As for crash safety – glad both of you walked away. Minivans and midsize sedans are the safest statistically, rather than pickup trucks. But much better is simply driving less whenever you have a chance.

      Remember that there are two sides to safety: when driving a heavy vehicle like an F250, you are endangering EVERYONE ELSE much more than you are when using the Kia. Would you choose to increase your own safety at the expense of everyone else on the road?

  • Boxtruckrider July 30, 2016, 10:32 pm

    Hello all,
    my profession requires me to own a truck/van to maintenance/ deliver said products and machines to customers business’ in a set territory. That said 60-200+ mile days are the norm. Unfortunately there isn’t much on the market that gets the mpg I’d like with the hauling capacity and power required. (Econoline/express vans are the norm in my business.) So my unconventional approach to this dilemma was to go with a used diesel cab and chassis and upfit a used box. Now I may not ever get the mpg I’d like, but it’s miles better than a comparable unit (vans average 11-13) and my maintenance is next to zero. Total investment was less than half of a new unit (sans box) and exactly what I needed to not only keep a professional appearance, but stay utilitarian in its single cab and 12″ roll door box. (Diesel).
    One thing people miss in the cost of ownership is that depreciation is 40%, where maintenance is less than 10%. The 2nd owner in today’s trade cycles is the person most likely to keep a vehicle longer and truly use it to its purpose/potential. Just a friendly follow up and thank you for the article, I look forward to the next.


  • Jay August 7, 2016, 6:06 pm

    Just want to put it out there… if you showed up as a contractor on my job side with a ryobi 18v and a beat up old mini van full of saw dust and bark, I would kindly ask you to leave my site and not return. In the trade, one can tell a lot about ones work by the pride in their equipment and investment in the same.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 9, 2016, 12:33 pm

      Well, that’s certainly your choice Jay, but I’d suggest at least trying to hold a conversation with any potential contractor, instead of judging by how much he spent on an offroad farm truck. You can get a pretty quick picture of a person’s mental horsepower by exchanging a few sentences. You could also take a look at the contractor’s website to see all the past work, well-photographed and presented.

      Good general contracting and even carpentry is kind of an intelligence and organization test. So the same skills that allow you to make efficient spending decisions are the ones that help you solve 3-d puzzles in real life that result in good construction.

  • David August 26, 2016, 7:54 pm

    Over the course of two decades as a full time contractor with 3-5 employees I have owned several work trucks. When I started taking small jobs as a self employed painter and carpenter a rusty Nissan pickup did the job. When the rust made that truck unsafe I replaced it with a long bed Dakota 4WD. I quickly learned to love the 8 foot bed but the truck was a gas hog. For fuel economy reasons I bought my first minivan and I kept the Dakota. I had discovered the perfect combination of work trucks: a minivan for most of my driving and hauling needs and a pickup for those times when the load was too much for the van. Being a fanatical number cruncher I determines that when gas is less than about 3.25/gallon the fuel savings of the minivan won’t cover the fixed costs of insuring and registering two vehicles.
    side note: For about 6 months I tried using a small economy car for personal transportation to cut driving costs to the bare minimum. I had no trouble getting my 6’3″ body into the driver’s seat. The trouble was lack of room for my size 15 boots. When the temperture dropped to 10 degrees and I started wearing bulky winter boots the problem got much worse. After a few weeks of that I decided to sell that car. Trying to operate three pedals that were closer together than the width of one boot wasn’t safe.

  • Tommie August 27, 2016, 12:21 pm

    Like most mustachian followers, I binge read most of the posts on this website about 2 years ago and have been hooked ever since. I laugh when people I work with complain about not being able to retire yet and own not 1 but 2 trucks when they don’t use them for any kind of business. If only they knew about FI 30 years ago. They also feel very entitled to drive their trucks as they work hard for their money, why not blow it all on a truck haha!

  • The Mustacheless Mustachian January 25, 2017, 1:58 pm

    Mr. Money Mustache, I have been reading your blog for just over a month now and I must say you are one the smartest people I have ever listened to. I have a 1988 Suzuki Samurai that I use for my commuting (would use bike, but my school is over 10 miles from home), hauling, and recreation. It gets 31 MPG combined (32 highway, 30 city), is a 5 speed manual, and find that it is plenty good for most hauls (I once hauled 1.5 tonnes with it, which is its total weight). I currently have a bike, however I currently only use it for “fun”, rather than errands, however, after reading your articles, I have been trying to use for things like grocery shopping, etc.

  • Ron March 31, 2017, 11:54 am

    Great article! I live in NC and there are plenty of big trucks used only to get around, not even for work. I’m baffled at how many dudes drive/can afford to drive them. I don’t get it.

    I ride a bicycle everywhere, something I’ve done since 2002. We own a truck because my wife is a landscape architect and has her own design/install business. We got it used, from my father, for a few thousand and it’s in great shape. 2003 Silverado, which is plenty big, though VASTLY smaller than most trucks on the road. Sadly, I don’t think the guys driving the monster trucks are going to be reading this. Or looking forward far enough to even consider early retirement.

  • Red April 18, 2017, 2:02 pm

    Good and funny post. I currently drive an 07 Dodge Dakota with the 4.7 V8. I bought it 4 years ago for $9k cash at a used car dealership. When you finance a vehicle you will always pay more. Save the money, bring it with you and they will almost always sell it to you for less (this Dakota was listed at $12,200). I spent the entire day at the dealership and talked the sales people down once I told them I would not finance, I would pay for it in cash, and drive off with it same day. Cash is king and always stick to your budget price.

  • Carter June 7, 2017, 10:15 pm

    Would a 92 f150 be good for hauling, ehh… about 1500 lbs (10 ft enclosed trailer with my zero turn and other equipment)? Ive had no problems and it hauls it like a dream. Its got a 5.02L engine.

  • Nathan September 14, 2017, 1:04 pm

    I really wish someone would introduce a compact truck again. The auto manufacturers in the US are pushing “midsize” trucks that have a high suspension and poor milage like the Colorado and the Tacoma. I want something like a Holden Ute (but a 4-cylinder) or a newer, more efficient version of my 2000 Chevy S10. I have no need to haul or move people, but I love having an open bed.

  • Gavin September 22, 2017, 5:59 am

    I’m puzzled by the apparent lack of capacity, and therefore usefulness of North American pick-ups. Although they have ridiculous horsepower, their towing capacity and payload are puny compared to their European counterparts, while at the same time getting brutal fuel economy.

    I’m a landscaping contractor in Germany, but from Ontario originally. Here I drive an Iveco Daily (Fiat daughter company) flatbed that doubles as our family vacation wagon. It has a payload of 2800 pounds, plus a towing capacity of 6100 pounds, while getting 9.4 L/100 km, or 25 mpg on a 4 cylinder 116 hp diesel motor, with city driving and towing included. This is a no bells and whistles work machine, and pretty well every manufacturer here offers something similar, including Ford.

    Compare that to the Chevrolet 2500 Silverado that I had in Canada, with 300 hp, and less towing and payload capacity, and way, way worse fuel economy. What gives?

    Perhaps the difference is that these are never driven as personal cars here, and are almost always bought by business owners looking for the lowest running costs for their fleets. They are so much more practical than pickups, particularly because all three sides of the flatbed open up, and skids can be loaded from three directions.

    As we’re looking at returning to Canada in the future, it annoys me that similar trucks aren’t available there. Also irritating is that Transport Canada won’t let me import my truck either, otherwise I’d take it with me..

  • Jerry October 25, 2017, 10:10 pm


    Once a long time ago I was riding with a tow truck driver and we discussed trucks. Of course we were impressed by the top-of-the-line 4×4, crew cab, short bed diesel “Cowboy Cadillacs” but his reasoning was very much in line with yours; unless it makes you money, it’s a waste of capital. The tow truck we were riding in cost the owner about $7000 more than a fully loaded uber-truck, but earned the owner somewhere in the neighborhood of $1600 per day ($100+ per hour, two 10 hour shifts with some downtime). No way a $70,000 pickup could make that kind of money.

    In my business, we don’t even drive trucks. We are those guys riding around in non-descript cargo vans. My 2011 Chevy is paid off now, but even when I was making the $513 payments it was a money maker all the way. Now it is even more profitable, but I want something more efficent. The Mercedes Metris is calling to me. To that end I am constantly challenging myself to work more efficiently, by carrying less stuff so a smaller van will suit my needs.


  • MKE January 16, 2018, 4:05 pm

    As of 1/16/18, car sales are down and truck sales are up. People are becoming increasingly detached from reality. I re-read this classic partly for laughs, and partly to stop the tears.

  • Jack March 20, 2018, 4:01 pm

    I win! I use a two door mini cooper to haul my tools and gear! Im talking full tool box, loaded tool bag, rain gear, 3 pairs of boots, ppe, my chainsaw (when needed), rotary hammer, ax, circular saw, and cords! And someone can still ride shotgun!

  • Elmar May 11, 2018, 11:34 am

    I am from Europe and I have a general and honest question about the professional use of those pickup trucks.

    I find them quite unpractical as your load is always exposed to the elements and the loading capacity limited in volume.

    This article mentions minivans although I think this isn’t a really good comparison. Here in Europe we use vans like a Mercedes Sprinter or, one size smaller, a Vito. Huge loads, weather protected, fit on any road, not more expensive then your truck variations. Available on 2,3,6… seat configurations plus safety separated loading space.

    In all fairness – these have less configurations when it comes to 4×4. So is this the central element? I am really at a loss as to why you would choose a truck at all EVEN if you use it for work only… other then that you have no paved roads and you transport smelly stuff.

    When I saw the statistics of how many of these trucks are sold every day in the US I knew that I am missing a crucial point here. What is the advantage of work related pick-ups compared to closed vans like a sprinter or vito.


  • Nice joy May 12, 2018, 8:58 pm

    I have a Honda Odyssey 2005 with 190000 miles. How long the transmission will last. Will you spend $3000 to fix the transmission?.

  • anotherengineer May 14, 2018, 12:02 pm

    Inspired by the preponderance of ridiculous trucks being used to commute in Anchorage, I made the following brief foray into composing poetry while biking:

    Empty cab,
    Empty bed;
    Empty wallet,
    Empty head.

  • Nick May 16, 2018, 5:09 pm

    Alright I have an interesting conundrum that I am very fortunate to need your advice on.

    As a part of my job as a superintendent at a large commercial construction company, I am required to drive a truck. I am currently provided with a standard F150 where the company lease is coming up soon and I will have to turn it back in. I’ve reached enough seniority that I now have the option to get another basic F-150 or I may receive a vehicle reimbursement allowance of approximately $980 per month after taxes.

    The company provided truck is totally covered fuel, maintenance, and insurance wise and I have a $80 a month commuter benefit taken out of my paycheck.

    If I went with reimbursement, I would receive an additional allowance on my paycheck each week to approximately $980 each month. I would be responsible for all maintenance and insurance, but still may fuel it for work purposes.

    I currently do not own any vehicle whatsoever, so I would have to purchase a truck that meets the guidelines (under 10 years old, damage free, at least extended cab and 6′ bed). Looking at a local ford dealership, it looks like with all the incentives I can easily pick up a basic F150 that meets all the guidelines for about 28k new (I am pricing against a new one to compare apples to apples). I would keep said truck for it’s useful life of approximately 250-300k miles. After getting a few insurance quotes and assuming no money down at an estimated 1.9% APR for 48 months, it would be approximately $699 a month. That breaks down to $579 for truck and $120 insurance with a million dollar commercial coverage addition. (Important note, this is assuming some additional bundling with my home insurance as well which made it hard to compare against other quotes for similar coverage at $200+ monthly.) The way I am figuring, it puts me ahead approximately $281 a month, and assuming I put $81/month into a maintenance fund that’s still $200 ahead. I also am paying down a vehicle and will have an “asset” (albeit one severely depreciated after it’s service life) in the form of a vehicle I can drive for 250k+ miles.

    To me, it looks like a no brainier to request the reimbursement in these terms. There is some added personal risk of owning the vehicle vs. the company, but it is hard to assign a dollar value to and the million dollar commercial rider should mitigate all of that. Even if in 4 years I decide to do something different, I would own the vehicle outright in the scenario described above compared to otherwise I would walk away with essentially nothing.

    Is there something I am missing here?

    • Nick May 16, 2018, 5:16 pm

      For visual sake, this is the vehicle I used in the description above and almost exactly the same that I would receive provided by the company.


      I also forgot to mention too I have the ability to liquidate any number of stocks to put a down payment up to at least 30k (aka I could pay for the truck in cash if necessary). I am not sure how that would affect the decision as the money is otherwise in low risk stock investments where I have made decent returns over the past year, but my confidence in the stock market has been tested greatly first half of this year.

  • James M July 26, 2018, 11:44 am

    This is great. I started my own business last year doing home performance energy audits. That lead to needing to do some construction work for people. I took an old boat trailer and fixed it up. Put a hitch and transmission cooler on my 93 Honda civic. Bought a used insulation machine and a ton of accessories for a $2k in nearby Vermont from a retiring business person on CL. The result was a pretty comical looking setup (pics on request) but it was all paid for on the first job. I now just bought my first truck in early June; an Isuzu npr with 16′ box and liftgate. Big, slow, rough riding and super practical. The future millionaire accusation sounds good to me but wish I had read this post before doing truck buying research…may have saved a few hours. It was $7k all in with taxes, registration, and a year of insurance. I’m learning about diesels now and having fun making repairs before something breaks. It forces me to invest in new tools which has become a hobby of sorts when you can buy the tools for less than a mechanic costs in labor. My favorite truck upgrade project is the insulated tool room I’m building within the box. As a bonus my 5 year old nephew has been loving helping. While fun and not absolutely necessary this tool room will more than pay for itself in working efficiency gains. The tool room will have a inner door for entry with a simple code lock. This will eliminate theft concerns of leaving the roll up door open while working inside homes. Not having a garage to keep the truck in, another upgrade is a fancy (yet surprisingly cheap) car alarm system with gps tracking and ability to remote start and arm/disarm from nearly anywhere. All self installed to keep costs down and learning up. It’s all about doing things for practical reasons vs emotionally driven reasons.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 26, 2018, 3:07 pm

      WOW! All I can say to this is that You are The Man, James. That’s how to do construction transport!

  • Ryan August 13, 2018, 4:07 pm

    I am 17 years old and drive a lifted truck. Who are you too say i’m a dumb ass. My truck is “killing me”. because TRUCKS are the only cause of pollution. Give me break, this is what i love and is the reason why i put so much money into it. Whatever it is you love or like to do must cost you a lot of money. Talking shit about people that have different hobbies than you just shows what kind of person you are. What i am trying to get at is let people do what they want and quit bitching about online.

  • John October 17, 2018, 3:25 pm

    Cringed at all the truth, because it really is all true. I am one of those with too much truck, at least for now. I used it to haul my home (slide-in truck camper) while I was in school, and will probably haul a future home with it (5th wheel or a newer truck camper) in the next 15 years. My truck may make me appear quite stupid now, but I at least applied some Mustachianism to the situation: I got the nearest apartment possible to work, to drive it less and walk more, especially if its not broiling hot or freezing cold. I maxed out the payload while I used it with the camper. Living the RV life saved me more than enough to afford the truck, and I bought it with cash. It’s an old, reliable diesel so its resale value won’t tank, and I have the least amount of insurance possible since it is a tank. Plus its one of the few indulgences I allow myself, and it makes me smile every time I hear it rumble to life. Just wanted to say to the other “Too Much Truck” owners that there are ways to avoid or mitigate the financial loss and still have good feelings about your truck. But then having feelings for things is another problem in itself. Anyhow, my retirement age goal is still earlier than 40, so despite the truck, my ‘stach continues to grow. Great article.

  • Anthony February 20, 2019, 9:14 am

    Bahah! What a great article.

    I found this page while searching for people’s opinions on the pick-up truck vs a work van.

    For the past few years I’ve been working on my own investment projects and doing all of the work out of a 2008 Honda Odyssey with the seats out and I’ve been telling everyone its an ultimate work vehicle. I just started doing remodeling work for homeowners and need to get a vehicle that looks more ‘professional’. I did not expect that upon my search for people’s opinions, my own Odyssey would show up as a recommendation.

    I’m going to miss that van a lot.

  • Bill Wilde August 13, 2019, 9:41 pm

    Just stumbled across this blog by accident; never been here before. Gotta say, this is one of the best things I’ve ever read on the internet. Thank you. (Been hauling my scrap metal to the yard for years in my 2000 vintage Plymouth Voyager minivan with the passenger seat removed. Bought it for $2,700 in 2013.)

  • Kyle November 5, 2019, 7:19 pm

    This article really hit home and made me laugh. I was Googling van vs truck and it popped up, haven’t read MMM in years and this rekindled my love for his reassurance on how to live life. MMM you should bring your soapbox to Alberta, the Jones’ here will make your head explode!

  • Joe March 26, 2020, 6:14 pm

    I live in the mountains doing construction and a bit of logging. My chosen steed is a ’98 ranger. 4×4 (lots of snow here, and offroad work) v6 engine with solid power and about 20 mpg, and a brushguard (deerproofed). currently 498k on it and still going strong. It’s hit countless deer, tumbled down a mountainside, and hauled over 1000lbs in the bed. It cost me $1600.

  • James April 26, 2020, 8:19 pm

    There is so much truth to this article.

    However, if you show up on an industrial job site with a compact pickup truck and a gas welder in the back and a few tool boxes your going to get laughed at and not get hired.

    With that said….

    A 3/4 ton to 1 ton with a flat bed, plenty of storage and good equipment is all you need.

    Spending 60k on a work truck is stupid.

    You have to find the balance if your a contractor.

  • Sharon May 1, 2020, 12:51 am

    My mom’s daily driver right now is an 88 Ford Ranger v6 4wd. Aside from general maintenance, it’s been a reliable vehicle for years. In the winter, the 4wd is necessary to get in and out of her rural driveway, and we’ve done a lot of hauling and towing over the years. In the summer, she’ll get her fox body Mustang on the road and save 30% on gas for her commute to work.

  • Steven Fillmore May 4, 2020, 7:11 pm

    I drive a 2007 Ford Ranger I paid 4000$ CAD for with low mileage, I ended up getting rear ended in it and every dent in it was removed by insurance (bringing it up to the 8000$ value range~ it had a lot of dents) I ended up doing every piece of maintenance from the waterpump to the differential and the clutch. all in all Im out about 7000$ total and it has been the best vehicle I have ever owned (3.0 V6 RWD Manual) simple, reliable, and dependable. even started in -40C without being plugged in. I have driven it from Calgary, AB to Nelson, BC and back, parts are cheap and it hauls around tons of tools on a daily basis. If I could buy 10 more of these trucks i would.

  • David August 13, 2020, 7:55 pm

  • Smedly Butler August 20, 2020, 3:28 pm

    I just spent the last six days driving around Houston, TX growing more irritated as I watched the number of 4-door, 6’ box, 400 HP, Platmum F-150s and Dodge Ram dual wheel juggernauts whiz past us. I searched and found your site. You nailed it.

    2002 Ranger Owner


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