Is there any way that a car lease can be economical in a high mileage car?

Just that. Would a lease be worth getting in a car that averages over 17,000 miles a year?

I have owned many cars but never leased so be gentle with me.

The highest I’ve seen for a lease is 15,000 miles / year.

I don’t think leasing is particularly economical, unless there is some kind of special deal that makes it worthwhile (i.e. manufacturer incentives), or if there is some kind of tax advantage that reduces the effective cost to you (IIRC, the tax code allows businesses and self-employed individuals to write off the entire cost of payments on a leased vehicle, whereas there are limits on purchased vehicles).

Generally speaking, leasing is equivalent to just buying the car normally, driving it for 3 years, and then selling it, except you agree on the sale price up front.

For instance, you buy a car for $30,000, and agree that 3 years and 45,000 miles later it will be worth about $18,000. Your monthly payment consists of A) The finance costs of the $30,000, and B) the $12,000 depreciation.

If the leasing company is wrong or optimistic about how much the car will be worth at the end of the lease, this works in your favor, since all of this is agreed to at the start of the lease. Of course, the companies are pretty good about getting this right.

If you want economical, you should buy a car that is already 3-4 years old and keep it until it starts falling apart. Leasing is basically like buying a new car every 3 years. Your monthly payment is lower, though, since you’re only paying off the depreciation over the term of the loan, not the entire cost of the car. But in the long run, it is probably marginally more expensive.

Keep in mind some other factors: you agree to the residual value (the value of the vehicle at the end of the lease, that your payments are calculated up front). This is largely based on the mileage limit you agree to. If you go over that mileage, you pay a rather stiff penalty, usually around $0.25 / mile. If you go under, you don’t get a credit for the unused mileage. So, if you can’t accurately predict how much mileage will be on the vehicle after 3 years, you are wasting money one way or another.

Additionally, you will pay penalties upon returning the car if there is any damage to it that exceeds “normal wear and tear”, defined by the leasing company. The penalty they can charge for damage exceeding normal wear and tear is basically at their discretion.

Other than the tax advantages, which may be significant if you’re a business owner, I think the answer is no, leasing is not economical.

I think some companies will let you add miles up front when you’re negotiating the lease which will cost somewhat less than the penalty at the end.

If you drive a lot of miles, though, you’re probably better off buying than leasing. Depreciation really isn’t tied to mileage as much as it once was, so the cost of driving a car you own a few extra thousand miles a year is pretty minimal.

It never seemed that way to me either. That’s why I have yet to do it. It occurred to me that I put too many miles on my car a year to even consider it next time. Hence the question.

You lease for convenience and such. Not for economics. You throw money at a lease so you don’t have to worry about selling the car later, etc.