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That seems more expensive than owning a car. Assuming 5 workdays a week and 2 rides per day then that is 40 rides a month on average which could be anywhere from $360 to $480 a month.

You also have to factor in gas, renting a parking space for the car at home AND at work, taxes, insurance, convenience, etc. It's one of those things like renting. Yeah, in the long run, purely financially, buying would probably be cheaper, but a lot more factors go into it in real life that doesn't make it as black and white. For me, not owning a car is still much better overall, currently.

Also, as I mentioned in another comment, it's just rides to work in the morning. I take public transportation home after work.

I'll bite.

I keep track of all my numbers. For the 86 months I had my last car, I paid an average of $236/mo.

This includes purchase price (subtracting out the amount I sold it for). Insurance. Taxes/fees. Gas. Auto insurance. Repairs and maintenance. Silly things like car washes.

Of course, I didn't buy a brand new car, or even a recent car. And bought a reliable brand so repairs were low. My insurance was not just liability. All apartments I lived in had parking, as did my work. The types of apartments that have expensive parking are the type that have high rents anyway, so I save in both by not living there.

Excluded is the gas for road trips, but I think that's fair as I doubt you used Lyft/Uber for road trips.

So for less than what you're paying a month, I got to have a car, and got to drive anywhere I wanted to - not just work.

That may work fine for where you live, but that doesn't apply in my case. It's over $400/month alone for both parking in my apartment building, and getting a space to park near my work (both downtown Chicago). And 90% of the places I go to outside of work, don't have free easy parking, so I'd be paying a ton for parking since there isn't convenient free parking lots like suburbs have. So parking costs alone makes it unrealistic for me and not as cheap as in your case.

I think most people would gladly pay a bit more to not have to deal with the annoyance of owning a vehicle. Parking in most cities is pain. Driving to restaurants or bars is a no-go with your own vehicle. The flexibility you lose with having to own a car is simply not worth it.

Counterpoint: I think most people would gladly pay a bit more to not have to deal with the annoyance of only being able to use strangers' cars, of variable cleanliness, only after waiting several minutes for them to show up, and not being able to store anything in them during multi-stop trips.

In Germany a few big car companies start with an interesting middle ground, a "car as a service" where you pay monthly, can always switch to a different one or give it back for some time, they also handle repairs, tire changes and everything else that might pop up.

It's quite affordable starting at ~$350/mo, so I am curious to see how people will accept it.

>Parking in most cities is pain. Driving to restaurants or bars is a no-go with your own vehicle.

I'm not sure whether you're referring to driving under the influence or merely about parking. If the latter: In most cities in the US, these are mostly non-issues. So I disagree with your use of "most". Although I've used Lyft in the last few years for various reasons, only once did I use it because I was worried about not finding parking. For other occasions, I used public transit. But seriously - probably less than once a year do I need to find alternate transportation because I'm worried about parking.

(BTW, I forgot to add parking to the above estimate. I spent on average $6.03 a month on it).

I find a car to give more flexability than it takes. Its simple to pickup friends, do errands, with no scheduling or waiting. This doubtlessly depends on your area. Most people here assume everyone is in urban california fauxtopia.

The economics can be interesting. For me to own a car means I have to pay $300/month anyways, just to be able to park it in my apartment building. After considering the cost of ownership (insurance, maintenance, gas, etc), I decided it wasn't worth it.

Using Edmunds' True Cost to Own calculator, A 2014 Honda Civic would cost about 5k per year or $416/Mo. If you don't get free parking at work or home or if you have to pay tolls, that cost could increase significantly. A parking spot at a condo could rent for $200-$400/Mo. Parking downtown could be $12-$20 per day. That daily Uber ride sounds like a deal.

>A 2014 Honda Civic would cost about 5k per year or $416/Mo.

You can see my numbers here for my Civic.


Mine was 8 years old when I bought it, but with low miles (about 60K). So I paid a bit of a premium - almost as much as the 2014 Civic on that page. I kept it till it was at 144K miles. Effective cost to own was under $300/mo.

Comparing the 2014 numbers with mine:

Insurance is almost the same.

Repairs + Maintenance was less than a third of their estimate. I didn't skimp at all on this, BTW. I'd be worried if a 5 year old Civic has that many repairs!

No financing - paid in cash. Even the 2014 one is a little over $10K. You can just save and pay cash.

Their estimate requires a lot more in fuel costs. Mine is about two thirds of their estimate. This can be highly variable (e.g. if you have a long commute).

One reason they include financing cost in the TCO calculator, even thought it's possible to buy a car in cash is due to the time value of money. Cars do not earn a rate of return, so any money you have in a car instead of investments is sitting idle. You subtracted your sale price from your purchase price, but that only counts the depreciation, not the opportunity cost.

For example, let's say you bought your car for 10k, then sold it 7.1 years later for 9k. You have 1k of depreciation. You also have $6,300 at 7%(a typical target rate) in lost income from not keeping that money in a productive asset for those years.

Yes, but don't assume I can just put the whole purchase price in an investment. The comparison is between buying and using Uber.

In my case it came down to $242/mo vs anywhere from $360 to $480/mo with Uber. It's not clear to me that had I invested the purchase price the 7% return would be enough to make up the difference of $120-240/mo. Certainly not in the first year. I'd have to do the math to see when the breakeven point would be where that initial investment is yielding more than the extra cost of using Uber.

There's also the fact that 7% is the market's return, which is over a 30 year span. On a 10 year span, the rate of return is highly volatile, and could even be negative (on the flip side, could be a lot more than 7%).

I just ran the numbers, BTW. With my purchase price, invested at 7%, I break even after 7 years (just about the time I owned it) - assuming Uber is the upper bound of $480/mo. At the $360/mo cost I'd break even after 3-4 years.

I didn't take into account the sale price, so that would make the breakeven point a little farther.

> That daily Uber ride sounds like a deal.

... for someone living in a bubble completely disconnected from the planet Earth, where they think that a $400/mo parking spot is 'normal'.

Sure, there's a few million people like you out there. Not enough to make Uber break even, though.

But we're talking about Chicago and this is the very center of normal. There are in fact millions of people who work in the central business districts of the world's most expensive cities. Uber has 75 million riders. If they could actually convince some fraction of those millions of high income urbanites to only use Uber for their transit needs that would yield a disproportionate share of their revenue.

It's great that you get free parking, but have you considered that you're living in a bubble too? 6 out of 7 people globally don't even own cars!

I don't have free parking, I pay $150/month for it.

But I'm also a wealthy techie who happens to live within spitting distance of a booming downtown. 90% of the people living in my metro area (Seattle) do not pay $150/month for parking (And I'd wager that 99.9% do not pay $400/month for parking).

... And most of those people have commutes of >4 miles. The problem with taxis is that you pay by the mile. You'd be an idiot to drive yourself to work, if you live 2 miles from work, and have to pay through the nose for parking. You'd be an idiot not to drive yourself to work, if you live 15 miles from work, your bus system sucks, and your parking is cheap or free. [1]

Doing 15 miles/day in a taxi costs nearly 3x that of doing 5 miles/day in a taxi. Doing 15 miles/day in a car is pocket change, compared to doing 5 miles/day in a car (Or 0 miles/day). Most of your costs with a car are fixed. Most of your costs with a taxi are distance-based.

[1] And if we're going to get into a discussion about how the world should value the cost of parking spaces, I will happily point out that what we should have is good bus services, not private chauffeurs.

> Most of your costs with a car are fixed.

A lot, but typically not most - I drive about 12k km per year (16 km commute 2-3 days per week) and over the past six years my fixed costs have been around $7k. My variable costs have averaged $0.26/km for about $16k total. (All CAD)

You can get a lease on something like a Toyota Corolla with no money down and ~$250 per month. That plus gas plus maybe having to pay for a parking space would probably break even, if not save a little money. Not to mention any rides that aren't part of the commute.

Inexpensive leases often come with limits on mileage that make the cars more expensive to lease if you drive over the limit.

The two leases I've had were 12k miles/year (or 36k for the term of the lease). I work from home now but I used used to live 10 miles away from my job, and still turned in my vehicle at the end of my first lease with like 10k miles to spare.

Don't forget insurance, maintenance, tag, and other fees associated with owning a car.

For what it's worth Toyota leases come with 2 years of maintenance included, and unless you have major trouble, that last year might be an oil change or two costing ~$100 at the dealership (less if you go elsewhere). Admittedly, insurance can be pricy depending on where you are. Registration/tag fees can vary quite a bit depending on what state you're in.

Like the occasional overzealous towing that seems to happen

Parking spaces at both at home and work can easily be more than that in a major city. That is more limiting than even the car costs.

I dare say, if you live and work in a major city, close enough to the centre that you don't have a parking space, you ought to have great access to public transport. Unless you're in the US, I suppose.

As someone who used to work in a major city but now doesn't I think the ride share model makes much more sense in urban areas where you have more obtrusive costs like parking.

But then you have to own the car, which for someone like me who would barely use it aside from an occasional weekend ride just makes little sense as far as the additional concerns of paying insurance, servicing, finding parking space and so on.

How much is the total cost of owning a car in Chicago? Including gas, parking, insurance, maintenance and consumables, depreciation/lease, etc?

A lot. I live just outside the city limit. 2015 VW Golf Wagon. Payment is only $260/month because I bought it used, got a decent amount for my trade in, and put extra down. Insurance $100/month. Gas, tolls, taxes, misc parking $200/month. Parking at my apartment is included in lease but can easily be $200-400 depending on where in the city you are. I'm a freelancer. As such I don't pay for monthly parking in the city, which could be another $200-400.

So $860 or so per month to own a car. “Included in your lease” doesn’t mean you don’t pay for it by the way.

And how many trips do you take with your car (so we can calculate the cost for replacing it with an Uber)?

Outside certain places with very high car ownership uber is tons more expensive.

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