Pay upfront for higher total miles vs. Pay at lease end for excess miles

Started the hunt for my next lease. Since I know that for the next car I will drive more than the average 10k miles, I was wondering what is better: To pay upfront more for 15k miles or risk and see how much I will go and pay at the end for the additional miles I would drive over 10k. Any tips would be highly appreciated. Also: Are the penalties for excess miles tax free? (e.g. when they say 25cent per excess miles, do I just pay just the 25 cents or do they charge tax on it?

Thank you in advance!

always cheaper to miles buy upfront.


You can do some quick math to figure out how many miles you’d have to go over to equal the cost of the next mileage tier up. Generally it doesn’t take much to make it worthwhile to pay up front for the miles if you think there’s a reasonable chance you’ll use them.


Not always the case. With BMW you can pruchase miles at a discounted rate before lease return. Thats the cheaper route with BMW. That being said, if you dont use up all your miles then you wouldnt have paid the premium. Only disadvantage is you end up paying towards the end of the lease vs having it factored into your monthly off thr bat.

You might want to run the math on that one… The discount they offer is not significant. It’s still much cheaper to bump up to the next mileage tier to buy them up front than it is to buy the miles, even at the discounted rate.

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Unless you’re leasing an NSX where it was only 20 cents a mile!!!

For a 50K car, considering a 2% RV drop, going from 12 k to 15K mi is going to cost you ~1100 (2% of 50K and some interest). Alternatively, Buying 6K mi at 25c/mi would cost you ~1500. So its cheaper to buy upfront.

Obviously if you are only driving average 13K mi, it might be cheaper to pay at the end. Or if the MSRP of the car is lower, then upfront is cheaper. I can run many scenarios like this. You need to do the math yourself

Most leases are 36 months, so you’re buying 9k miles, not 6k.

I believe it was better to buy miles later on the i8, many people talked about that.

I need more coffee to do math in the morning

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How many miles a year do you actually drive? 12k? 13.5k? 15k? You should get enough miles on the lease to cover the expected usage — if you drive 15k and lease at 7.5k have we got some horror stories here for you where it got away from people.

And do you have a short list of brands or should we speculate because

We’re mixing Acuras and BMWs here and the captives handle it differently.

@mllcb42 is right that you have to do that math first, but whose?

sure, there are rare exceptions to be considered

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Was just joking! Personally I now get a few thousand a year less than I think I might need. To many times I’ve ended up under or sold the car before termination. When The times comes that I finally owe at lease end I’m fine with forking up for any overage.


Thank you all for your answers. I think I will just risk it and go with the standard miles and see how things go. I like the way @LeaserOC looks at it. The only thing I still dont know: do you have to pay tax on the over mileage or no?

Yes you have to pay sales tax on those miles!

these are the pre-purchased miles, is it the same when you go over at lease end?

Yes sales tax was added on my Audi, Lexus and BMW leases

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Not always. Depending on MSRP, 1% residual change may cost more than 20-30cents a mile.

The vast majority of the time where that’s the case, the miles also cost a lot more than 20-30 cents.

Nsx being an exception.

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You pay up front, the money is gone. The end is unknown. You might be over, but you might be under. And if you buy/sell/trade the vehicle prior to disposition, you don’t pay the excess mileage.
Buy only what you are sure you will use.