I had a pretty snazzy late model Ford Ranger extended cab 4×4 in I think early 2007 when gas prices spiked up to about $3.50 gal. My commute was 70 miles a day, which has not been unusual. 14 mpg, 20 gallon tank, I was filling it every 3 days, $200 in gas a week. IE, $800 a month, the thing was going to bankrupt me.
I was upside down on the truck at least $2k but I traded it in anyway for an 05 Toyota Corolla, a 2 year old car at the time. I think the transaction was net positive to monthly household cash flow immediately with just the gas differential and the whole car equity thing played out properly with six months payments.
Today, the Corolla gets its first repair expenditure for non-rolling parts (ie not tires, brakes…). It needs a starter solenoid, and I know it only needs it because I went through about a 16 inch deep puddle when it was raining two weeks ago. It got submerged and it’s been touchy since.
So that’s $250 of problems in 9+ years of one car and 210k miles.
I don’t think one does that with American cars.