Until the Robot Cars Arrive, Here Is How Much You’re Paying Per Year of Car Ownership
Nicole Dieker

Totally agree with the urban/rural split people are talking about here. Also, though, it’s not just urban/rural; suburban communities are not necessarily going to be served by Lyft/Uber etc. because there isn’t critical mass of people needing occasional public transport. I live in a suburban community about one hour from two major cities in either direction, north and south. There are several taxi services (who successfully fought off Uber as price cutters), but in general the infrastructure here is designed for the car. I can’t imagine self-driving car services would have much of a purchase because you need a car to grocery shop, go to job, basically every life task except perhaps teeth cleaning, just as rural people say here.

This whole discussion has made me want to chime in about how much a car costs. I paid $2000 for a 10-year-old car, which was in great shape (1 owner who had maintained it very well). I work at home, so only use about $20-$40 worth of gas per month. Maintenance costs are very low (about $50 month on average). Insurance is $85/month. (How I envy the $50 people! Where do you live??)

I think there might be a syndrome where large life purchases, like home mortgages or cars, seem very huge and un-doable and frightening…until you actually do them. I was frightened for years to get a house because it seemed like the costs were so high. I only bought my condo because my landlord was going to sell it and offered it to me. But, once you make one payment, it just leads to the next one, and the next one. Somehow, you accommodate the extra cost (it was beneath market, but above my then-rent). I think that’s true for many people.

So, take the plunge! Life without a car is very hard in this country, and I’m pained on behalf of people who don’t have one.

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