The tough part with cars like the tesla (hybrids have the same issue but it is more extreme in electric cars) is that we are not used to factoring in fuel savings when buying a car. How much are you willing to pay to save 1-2k/yr in gas? It would be pretty reasonable to pay 15k more for the same car.
(not sure who wrote this?)
If you are paying $75-110k for a car, whether it makes 20 mpg or 100 mpg is probably fairly irrelevant to you.
10k miles pa, 20 mpg = 500 gallons of gas a year. Let's say gas goes back up, and that costs you $2500. Multiply by 10 years, $25k. OK a Tesla saves you $2500 a year in those fairly extreme calculations. But of course there are plenty of luxury cars around that do 30 mpg plus, so the savings are reduced.
Wouldn't one need to worry about depreciation and extra cost if one plans to keep the car for a long period of time, e.g. 15-20 years, and to restrain from adding luxurious options?
Depreciation always counts.
If you buy a 50k car and use it for 10 years, residual value 0, then it cost you $5k a year to own it (plus insurance, gas etc.).
If you buy a 25k car and use it for 5 years, rv=0, it also cost you $5k a year to own it. But if you keep that car for 10 years, then it only cost you $2500 pa.
So if you own a 100k for 20 years, it cost you 5k a year depreciation. If you buy a 70k car, it only cost you $3500.
The notable thing is that certain sorts of cars (chiefly Toyotas and Hondas) don't depreciate as much in their early years as many other makes. So if you change your car every 5 years then you will notice this. This is probably a function of high demand plus reliability reputation-- so in years 5-10 you'll spend less on repairs if you keep it, as well.
I would note cars like Land Rovers seem to have high depreciation. So too did the big American SUVs (I don't know whether this was fuel economy or what). BMWs also have high depreciation I understand (a function, I think, of high repair costs in later years-- expensive parts and not many people do the repairs).
My father's Honda Accord managed 13 years. So did my brother's. Lowish mileage but 80% stop-and-go city driving. And this in Canadian winters with road salt etc.