Many people living in or around cities have made the choice to eschew car ownership in favor of using ridesharing services, such as Uber or Lyft.
With rides just costing a few bucks at a time and cars costing tens of thousands (plus the cost of maintenance) it seems logical that ridesharing might make fiscal sense for many people.
A new analysis from the American Automobile Association, however, suggests that owning a car is more cost-effective, even for urban residents.
This may especially be true in the District of Columbia, which just passed a tax on ridesharing services as part of Metro’s dedicated funding plan.
AAA said that someone using a ridesharing service as a primary mode of transportation in the District will pay about $21,093 annually. That’s more than double the annual cost of owning a car, even when gas, maintenance, insurance and parking are factored in. AAA pegs the annual cost of owning a new car at $7,321.
“Whether you own a vehicle or not, ride-hailing services are a convenient transportation option,” said John Nielsen, managing director, Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, with the average American city-dweller driving nearly 11,000 miles per year, a personal vehicle is still the more cost-effective choice.”
Residents of other cities may find it cheaper to use Uber or Lyft than to own a car. The annual cost of primarily using ridesharing services is several thousands dollars less in many cities, including San Diego, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Phoenix.
It’s not entirely clear how popular ridesharing is in the District. AAA cited one figure of 123,000 trips each day, while noting that 185,000 cars are registered as ridesharing vehicles in the region.
Users of ridesharing services spent an average of $13.15 per trip, traveling an average of 6.66 miles.
AAA reached its conclusions by analyzing data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s American Driving Survey.