Car ownership is irrational

I spent 7 hours yesterday at a car dealership. It was a routine service appointment that became much more. About $1,700 later, I had new brakes, tires, and a few other essential parts.

My wife and I tried to not own a car for a long time. We did well until we had kids. Then ride-sharing and car-sharing didn’t work because of carseats.

So we bought a minimum viable car. A Kia Rio. It’s safe and economical. But we barely drive. Our average is about 5,000 kilometres per year.

So car ownership is starting to seem irrational.

Research shows it costs $8,600 (Canadian) a year to own a compact car. This includes depreciation, insurance, maintenance, fuel, parking, and other factors. An Uber costs about $2 per kilometre in Toronto. So for the price of owning a car, I can travel 4,300 kilometres with Uber. That’s almost the 5,000 kilometres we drive each year.

As soon as cheap, safe alternatives to car ownership exist, we plan to adopt them. Self-driving cars would be a game changer. Estimates suggest they could cost as little as 17 cents per kilometre. That would get us over 50,000 kilometres per year at our current spend. That’s several trips across Canada, if we wanted them.

And also, no more getting stuck in car dealerships.

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