Owning a car is both expensive for your wallet and expensive for the environment. Besides that monthly payment, insurance bill, gasoline bill and repairs, you are also emitting tons of carbon into the atmosphere..and we all know what that means. If you dont need a car to get around in your daily life, do you need to actually own one that just sits in the garage most of the time? Maybe not.
To start off with, lets look at what an average Joe in an average city pays for the privilege of owning a car:
Car – $25,000, which amounts to monthly payments of about $500 per month for SIX years.
Gasoline – Lets say you fill up every other week at minimum, for a total of $75 per month.
Insurance – I will use my rate as an example, $100 per month.
Maintenance – Ok, so I own a newer car that doesn’t need much work right now, but cars sometimes need new tires or windshields. A new tire goes for about $150 on average, and maybe you need one once a year.
Ok, so the basic costs PER MONTH to own a car are as follows:
Total PER MONTH is $685…more if you have to pay for parking as well.
So, for $685 per month you too can own a nice new car.
Now, lets say you live in a city (those in the rural burbs need not apply, as you actually need your car all day to get around) and you can use public transportation. That cuts down on your expenses such as gasoline, but whether you use your car or not, you still have to pay for it and insure it.
What if I told you there was a better way to both A. get around, B. save yourself a lot of money, and C. help the environment?
I have been looking into dumping my car and getting involved with CAR SHARING. That’s right, only paying for a car when I need one. The one service that is in my area is FlexCar. See, I live in a city that has great public transportation…as long as I only want to stay in my city. So depending on the bus to get me around only gets me so far. What if I need to get groceries, or buy something big at the store, or go to a client meeting just outside the service of my bus line? Thats where FlexCar comes in handy.
FlexCar allows me to use a car only when I need it, and I dont have to pay for insurance, gasoline, repairs or parking. I can just call them up and reserve a car for 1 hour or 3 days, and pay them an hourly fee. For $10 bucks, I get full use of the car an hour…and thats it. $10, no extra fees or charges. But around here, this might be just the ticket to save A LOT of money every month while still being able to go where I want, when I want, without depending on public transportation.
So, as an example, lets say I work at home (or close to home), and dont need a car but for buying groceries and the like. Why would I pay $685 per month or MORE for a car that stays in the garage 90% of the time? So lets say I would need use of a car 5 hours a week, because I can either walk to work or I work at home.
FlexCar – 5 hours per week, 4 weeks a month, total 20 hours X $10 = $200.
My car parked in the garage – $685 per month.
Thats a monthly savings of $485 per month.
Lets spread these payments out over the SIX years I would have to make payments on my car in order to own it:
$200 X 12 X 6 = $14,400
$685 X 12 X 6 = $49,320
Thats a savings of $34,920 over six years. If you invested that money you were saving in an account bearing 5% for 6 years, you would have over $150,000!
So, for those of you living somewhere where you can get around on foot or on public transportation most of the time, and only need a car occasionally, why do you own a car? Its expensive and incredibly damaging to the environment. I know its difficult to think of not having a car…its hard for me even with seeing these numbers on paper. But….money is money, and it is probably worth it to not own my own car anymore and instead just share one when I need it. Plus, then I could feel even more smug than Prius owners in that not only do I not emit less carbon, but also that I dont even need to make payments for the priviledge to do so!
I highly suggest you give it some thought…and for those in rural suburbs, I told you this wouldnt work for you! But for those in the city, help the environment and help you wallet…look into car sharing!
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