One Comment on “Your True Cost of Driving a Car”

  1. I dislike calculators like this one because too often I see them used with statements like, “This is how much you could save by not driving.” But when you actually look at the calculator the expenses fall into several categories, and money actually spent as a result of driving is only one subset (fuel, maintenance, depreciation). Other areas are money spent because you own a car (registration, taxes, residential parking–which only applies to very population-dense areas, I expect), and expenses that exist because we live in a car-centric society (pretty much everything under the indirect costs).
    If you’re trying to convince someone not to drive, I think it’s better to be realistic as to what savings they may see, mainly gas and maintenance, and to also present the non-financial benefits as well (exercise, environmental, etc.). I haven’t driven my car since June, and what I’ve saved is gas and, maybe, maintenance, although if I try to get that thing back on the road again, the first thing I expect it will need is a new battery (cost of not driving?). If I sold my car, I could lose the registration and tax, but compared to gas, that’s a tiny amount. I haven’t escaped any of those “indirect costs,” and technically since those costs are actually fixed (not dependent on how many miles you drive), my per mile indirect costs have skyrocketed since I stopped driving 99% of the time.
    A calculator like that is only a good selling point if you don’t take time to think about it, and it won’t take long for a new bike commuter to realize that they haven’t put all that extra money back into their pocket.

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