The Real Financial Cost of your Own Car Versus Public Transport

by Mike on April 1, 2014

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I think all of us have an opinion on whether we prefer driving vs public transportation and the pros and cons but have you really thought about the financial implications?  Will the convenience of having your own car cost you more than when you travel by public transportation?

Traveling is one of the most constant things in our lives, whether it will be from your home to work, from the city to another town or having a vacation trip in another part of the world.  On average one travels a distance of 6,691 miles a year which is similar if you travel from Sydney to Bodaybo which is a town in Russia.  That being said from this example we can all visualize just how much traveling a person can do in a year and start to get an idea of the money one spends in order to move from a place to another.

Looking closely at public transportation vs driving expenses.

Having your own car can give you the benefit of having your very own transportation, the freedom from relying on others and the benefit of traveling when and where you want.  Most people purchase their own cars because it makes traveling more convenient and it saves a lot of time.  Most of us consider that all you need is to purchase one but often forget it doesn’t mean that our spending stops once we buy it.

Car ownership costs you have to consider:

Car insurance

When you own a car it is not imperative that you get car insurance but having it does save you financially when something untoward happens.  Failure to properly plan for unforeseen accidents or natural disasters will just cost you more in the future when it comes to repairs and damages. Imagine you have to carry out the repairs out of your pocket without any assistance from your vehicle insurer?

So, the question should never be about buying a policy but it should be about how can you find a cheap automobile insurance quotes? You have several options when it comes to shopping for the lowest premiums. One of them is to go direct to several companies and get quotations. However, this takes too much time. A better solution is to use an auto insurance comparison website and see your options. These sites reduce the time it takes to find the best quote for the coverage you need. Alternatively, you can employ an independent broker to carry out the search for you.

Fuel –In the recent years, the prices of petrol and diesel are climbing up more often than we want them to be.  A regular gasoline now costs an average of $3.55 per gallon while  diesel fuel is at $3.99.  Just imagine how much it will be after 5 years if it will continue to go up the same rate as it is now.

Car Maintenance – You can’t just buy a car and not care for it.  Doing regular car maintenance and servicing will keep your car running well and conditions in tiptop shape. Whether you can do it yourself or have a professional do it for you, you will be shelling out some cash one way or the other.

Tolls Registration and Parking – That road you commute on to work isn’t always free and we often forget to add the road toll or even the taxes and registration charged by our government for the privilege of using and maintaining the roads! And last but not least where do you park when you shop or drive to work? The capital city in my State currently charges approximately $40 an hour AUD to park your own car. Work out what a 9 hour work day is going to cost you at that rate!!!

Owning a car has its perks and it may seem to be the most appropriate solution if you want to prioritize convenience and also luxury.  However most of us simply forget that this is not the only way to travel.  Public transportation is a more popular options for those who don’t have their own cars, refuse to buy one or are simply tired of the merciless spending we do to maintain our own vehicle!

Here are some reasons why public transportation cost may be less than that if you have your own car:

Specific budget – When you travel to the same places every day you usually know how much it will usually cost you every month and if your council/local authority works like mine they will even offer a discount if you automate your ticket purchases. This can add up to significant savings when balanced against a couple of months parking fees or fuel use! Cost of your Own Car Versus Public Transport

No car-related expenses – No need for you to spend regularly on car maintenance, car insurance premiums every year or even the odd traffic ticket to pay for.  Fewer responsibilities, less worries, and of course less payments per month.

Still Yawning while you drive – Lets face it driving while yawning in the morning and trying not to get involved in an accident isnt always your idea of fun. Sitting on a train, ferry or bus for the same amount of time (or less) and drinking a quiet coffee while letting someone else do the work had a lot of attraction for it. Did you consider this?

The Savings all add up – You might even still have a  car but leave it in the garage. A current trend here in Australia is that insurance companies charge you a fraction of the cost if you only use your cars outside of work hours or indeed only on weekends. Your rewarded yet again for using public transport!

The downside of having to travel using public transport is that you may have to be disciplined to catch your ride on time and also bear the crowd that may be sharing the same transport.  But savings is actually about putting in a little extra effort and letting it build over time.  When you want to make your finances work for you then you have to make an effort to work for it.

Driving may be convenient and at times can save you when you travel far but when we are talking about your daily activities and destinations public transport may be a more financially smart way to go.


Dont forget to share our article with all your long suffering commuting friends or leave us a comment about your own trips!


***Photos thanks to & bossco***

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