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The True Cost of Driving – An Eye-Opening Analysis

INRIX, the company that delivers a congestion management app, is also a very sophisticated analytical firm that has conducted studies on congestion-related issues worldwide.  A recent report on the cost of driving, based on their capture of data and analysis of parking, maintenance and other related costs (lost time, carbon emissions, etc.) is a staggering eye-opener that should give everyone pause to examine the potential benefits that car sharing may really afford each individual.  We might want to think long and hard about car ownership after looking at these results.  The INRIX analysis is summarized below.

INRIX announced the findings of the first ever Cost of Driving study that calculated vehicle ownership costs in 30 major cities in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. The study found that the indirect, hidden costs of driving, such as sitting in traffic and searching for parking, carry a significant economic burden for drivers in the U.S. – to the tune of $3,037 per driver in 2017.

The average U.S. driver faced a total driving cost of $10,288 in 2017, made up of direct (maintenance, fuel, insurance, and parking and toll fees) and indirect/hidden costs (wasted time and carbon emissions, parking fines and overpayments). Interestingly, traffic and parking-related costs made up nearly half (45 percent) of the total cost of ownership in the U.S.

“The true cost of driving was staggering but what was truly surprising was the size and breakdown of the hidden costs. Parking, for example, made up a third of the total cost of vehicle ownership,” explains Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “On average, drivers spent more than $3,000 a year on all parking-related costs.”

INRIX Cost of Driving Index U.S. City Results

On the local level, New York City was the most expensive city for drivers out of the 30 cities studied. In 2017, the total cost of driving in NYC was nearly two times the national average at $18,926 per driver, mostly due to the cost of parking. New Yorkers parked more often (10 times/week), paid more frequently (60 percent) and paid the most (average off-street rate of $28 for two hours). At $10,203 per driver, Detroit had the lowest total cost of car ownership mostly due to cheaper on-street and off-street parking rates.   (SEE FIGURE 1.)

INRIX Cost of Driving Index Country Results

The average U.S. driver faced a total driving cost of $10,288 in 2017, which was 55 percent more than the average U.K. driver and 14 percent more than the average German driver. However, U.S. drivers use their cars more than their German counterparts (13,467 miles driven annually in the U.S. and 8,709 miles driven annually in Germany), but the congestion impact is smaller. (SEE FIGURE 2.)

 

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