I moved to Downtown Cleveland at the beginning of October 2017. At the completion of my first full month living downtown without owning a car, I wrote a piece about my actual transportation costs for that first month and compared them with how much I would have spent with a car. The difference was staggering.
The expense of owning a car included monthly car payments, insurance, parking and estimated fuel costs based on national and local averages. I did not include incidentals like maintenance, repairs or tickets, which would obviously make the monthly cost higher. These were the numbers:
Car payments: $250 Gas: $120 Parking in my building: $180 Insurance: $60 TOTAL: $610 (not including repairs, parking tickets or other incidentals)
My total transportation costs for that first month of October included Uber and RTA (Cleveland’s public transportation). Here’s that breakdown:
Uber: $77.90 Bus: $5.00 TOTAL: $82.90
Over the subsequent winter months of November, December, January and February, my reliance on Uber was probably higher than it will be during warmer months that are more conducive to bicycling and walking, which are my preferred modes. Here is how much I spent to get around during that period:
November 2017: $131.51 ($126.51 Uber / $5.00 RTA) December 2017: $65.88 ($43.38 Uber / $22.50 RTA) January 2018: $157.05 ($149.55 Uber / $7.50 RTA) February 2018: $94.29 ($91.79 Uber / $2.50 RTA) TOTAL: $531.63
If you do the math, you can see that the total amount I spent on transportation for five full months without a car ($531.63) is still lower than just one month’s cost of owning and managing a car ($610).
In the many car conversations I’ve had since I moved here, when it gets out that I don’t have a car, people tend to look at me in disbelief like a broken slot machine. The idea of not owning a car is so alien and antithetical to the established norm that it’s absolutely inconceivable for many people. (To be fair, many people do actually need one.) But to each his own. For myself, I just quietly imagine the things I could do with the other $2,518.37 I saved by not owning a car over the last five months.