So now the crucial question: how much do I spent every time I turn on the engine and start driving ? well, I came down to the figure of 24 Euro cents per km, provided I drove 19000 Kms per year. The whole spend looks more dramatic if you look at it over a 4 years period of time: 18000 Euros; I worked almost 8 months full time over that period just to drive around during my free time. I also drove it more than the usual average of 15000 kms per year for a gas powered vehicle, which probably adds a bit to depreciation (not taken into account in this study to keep it simple…)
4 years TCO
If I aim to save more, it looks like I’ll have to drive less, or use more cost efficient means of transport. It’s easier to grasp the reality of it as a French person if you put it this way: if I have to drive 4 kms back and forth to buy a 1 Euro baguette, then it actually cost me double if I do it buy car instead of walking or biking to the Boulangerie, it couldn’t be more real :).
You can find four years TCO comparisons for all sorts of vehicles here.
The benefit of relocating close to work becomes all too clear. Let say you travel 30kms per day to go to work and back. I’ts a mere 1500 Euros on commute spent per year and a lot of time lost in it too. It’s 120 Euros you could spent on rent to get to live closer to your work and save the commute time everyday. Or it’s a trip to wherever you feel like going that you spent on gas just to go make money. Not mentioning the additional time and cost to go do some sport to offset the effect of moving from your bed to your car’s sit, and then your office chair without walking much in between.
It’s seems clear most of us own a car for commuting and shopping trips. Once in a lifte time round the world trips go by plane, train and bus usually, so owning a car and knowing what it costs is definitely something worth thinking about for everyday life convenience and proper budget planning.
How much per year ?
I’ve done a comparison from my own spending with an article found in Le Figaro (1):
I spent less on insurance due to a better bonus than average, and also more on maintenance, only driving second hand cars:
Overall I can say that what I found in the press regarding how much your car costs is quite accurate, now I have enough data for myself to compare it with; but I still think it’s a lot.
Most of it goes to gas spending, so how can you save a bit ?
I’ve saved some money with car-sharing, but not only. As the service moved from a small website in 2009 to a full smartphone app covering all Europe, it became easier to find some people to share the ride with, as well as the fun. Here is what I saved on gas with car sharing over 4 years time:
Not my thing, cars are meant to be driven at proper speed. This include taping into the engine when you need it, which actually maintains the engine in good condition rather than sticking to the back of a truck.
Cut cost on maintenance
You don’t cut cost on car maintenance in my opinion. The only way to do this is to buy a smaller car, with smaller tyres, lesser gas consumption etc… cars these days come with a predefined maintenance plan which is meant to be followed and is usually quite accurate and doesn’t go beyond what’s needed and is probably available on-line as well. I wouldn’t save money on cheap tyres for instance, as I really want to stick to the road when emergency braking is needed, they usually last much longer as well and could turn to actually be the best option for replacement.
Ditch the car
If you can afford it, why not, I am happy to have one and do not plan so; the impact on savings will be big if you do.
You can also go for not owning and renting when you need it, which could turn to be quite effective once you know the real cost of using your own vehicle overtime; plus you don’t have to deal with the maintenance, taking it to the garage and all the time involved in these operations.
(1) Figaro article here, in French : http://tinyurl.com/zel38up