The Car and its Carhole Cost us $12,000 a Year?

It’s no secret that cars cost a lost. From repairs, to insurance, to payments, to simpler things such as gas, parking tickets, a garage, traffic tickets, bridge tolls and the like, the bastards five and twenty (sorry, it’s much more than nickel and dime) the hell out of you. I was pointed to this chart which really lays out the cost of having a car versus not having a car. As you can see, in San Francisco, this savings is estimated at $12,476 a year. Other sites put this figure a bit differently, but whatever the case, it’s a lot. As you can see on the chart, the savings are even more in a place like New York City, but wherever you live, it’s probably the fact that lowly, smelly, untimely, full of “strange” people public transit will save you money, not to mention the stress of driving.
For those interested in seeing just how much it could save, there is a handy calculator to compute this. It’s not completely accurate though as it doesn’t take in to account the fact that a lot of people in SF have bridge tolls and monthly garage rentals in addition to the daily garage rentals. I also don’t know if it takes in to account insurance, which is a fortune for anyone in SF. Another thing that it forgets to mention is that walking saves you even more, which I choose to do more than taking public transportation because of my central location in the city.
This happened to coincide with a chat I had with a friend who is in South Africa that told me a small family can live comfortably on $20,000 a year in Cape Town. That sounds pretty good, but in truth, it doesn’t take the two of us much more than that to live in San Francisco. The secret is not having the car. I mean, think about it in terms of what else you could do with that money. If you figure that it’s $12,000 a year and say that a dinner for two is $50, that’s 240 dinners a year you could have instead of a car. You could literally eat out 2 out of every 3 dinners in SF if you go sans car.
Of course, there is the problem that a lot of people I know don’t have the public transit option between where they work and live. And I know how hard it can be to make that option work as was shown with taking BART out to Walnut Creek from SF for nearly two years and having to swallow up that 1 1/2 hour commute each way. But then again, if we make the bus or the subway a more common alternative in our lives (like using it whenever we don’t have those commutes), then maybe we’ll be able to part with the car more as more routes become available. All I’m saying is that with the exception of maybe 5% (or less now that we’re kinda having a rather large crisis) of this country, $12,000 a year is helluva lot of money to just be able to drive these damned cars that have become such a part of American life.
The Car and its Carhole Cost us $12,000 a Year?