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Unread 10-23-2006, 07:26 PM   #1
nauthiz
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Madison, WI
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The real price of driving

I just took a moment out to figure out how much my car really costs. Not in terms of dollars, which is an artificial figure, but in terms of the most valuable thing I have: my time.

Of course, we had to start with dollars. Here's the approximate annual cost of owning my car, an 02 Civic, broken down a bit: (depreciation and repairs taken from estimates I found on Edmunds.com)

Depreciation: $1,000
Insurance: $1,000
Maintenance: $500
Repairs: $500
Fuel: $1,150
Total: $4,150

After taxes, I take home about $11.60/h. Divided out, that means I spend about 360 hours working just to maintain my car. At 8 hours a day, that's 45 work days spent every year just to own this sucker.

It doesn't stop there, because I care about time spent in the car, too - it's stressful and I can't do things I really enjoy like knitting, reading, and drinking beer while I drive. Despite riding my bike to get around town, I live rather far from work and still drive a lot each year, about 15,000 miles. Let's be generous and say I average 50mph. That's 300 hours a year spent in my car, or the better part of an hour every day spent doing something I hate - driving.

Add it all together and divide by 16 and 365 and that's over 11% of my waking life wasted on driving. It's a pretty heavy 11%, too, since I find both work and driving to be rather stressful.

I've been toying with the idea of going car-free for a while now, but hadn't really been doing much about it. Seeing it put out in black-and-white like this, it's pretty obvious to me that nobody is benefitting from my car lifestyle - it's crappy for the environment, it's a huge financial burden, it makes me less happy, and it's eating up a ridiculous portion of my life. The only reason I have to keep driving is a combination of the place I work and the place I live, both of which can be changed. I think I'm going to be making serious steps toward rearranging my life so that I can go car-free starting now.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 08:40 PM   #2
bird
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The grass is always greener. At least you have a job and aren't constantly shut out of opportunities because of not having one.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 08:59 PM   #3
nauthiz
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Wanna buy one?
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Unread 10-23-2006, 09:07 PM   #4
bird
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Wanna teach me how to drive?
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Unread 10-23-2006, 09:16 PM   #5
vegbrain
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Ah, yes! I can finally brag about why I moved to Chicago and how much I loved getting rid of my car!!! I am not trying to rub it in, BTW....just opening the flood gates to a nice discussion of ridding ourselves of the oil addiction.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 09:20 PM   #6
ott
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Insurance: $1,000
Maintenance: $100
Repairs: $0
Fuel: $400
Car note: $4680.36
Tax Credit: +$3150

My own farts smelling like roses ... priceless.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 09:31 PM   #7
bird
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What's a 'car note'?
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Unread 10-23-2006, 09:42 PM   #8
nauthiz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegbrain
Ah, yes! I can finally brag about why I moved to Chicago and how much I loved getting rid of my car!!! I am not trying to rub it in, BTW....just opening the flood gates to a nice discussion of ridding ourselves of the oil addiction.

Haha, not rubbing it in at all from my end. Step 1 in my master plan is moving to Chicago.

Step 2, which will probably be quite a bit harder, is learning to love @[email protected]#% CTA.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 09:44 PM   #9
QrkyMoon
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Lately I have been getting more and more antiCorporate America and everything about it and am taking as many steps as possible not to support it.

I have been thinking lately about how horrible it is that we all complain about spending $2-3/gallon of gas, yet that is really cheap, considering the fact that it really is $2-3/gallon of blood. I hate how horrible my car is for the environment, I hate how horrible it is for people everywhere, I hate most everything else to do with my car (and the cost of it is annoying as well).

I also hate where I live (see my upcoming post in the WTF thread). Since I cannot live where I do without a car, I am really playing with the idea of moving somewhere that I can live car-free. I doubt I will do it anytime soon (I cannot justify out of state tuition and therefore need to graduate before I can move), but I cannot wait to move somewhere awesome with like-minded people and good public transportation.

(Btw, how feasible is it to live in Madison car-free? I would love to move there.)
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Unread 10-23-2006, 10:15 PM   #10
nauthiz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QrkyMoon
(Btw, how feasible is it to live in Madison car-free? I would love to move there.)

I should probably just let spacehippy answer this, since he actually knows, but why should I let reason stop me?

I'd say it's way above average. The buses run every half hour or so. I usually do everything by bike or foot, though. If you live downtown everything is within walking, but that area is full of college students so you end up paying a lot for dumpy places (lots of competition, I guess). The bike situation is fabulous, the best I've ever seen - lots of bike routes, lots of bike paths. Despite all my bitching, the cars are really pretty courteous, better than any other town I've lived in. There are a few black holes where there isn't a grocery store for miles, but some new places have opened so they aren't nearly as bad or numerous as they used to be.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 10:22 PM   #11
Dandelion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nauthiz
Haha, not rubbing it in at all from my end. Step 1 in my master plan is moving to Chicago.
mwahaha! *rubs hands together maniacally*
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Unread 10-24-2006, 08:54 AM   #12
iamtheqbu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ott


Insurance: $1,000
Maintenance: $100
Repairs: $0
Fuel: $400
Car note: $4680.36
Tax Credit: +$3150

My own farts smelling like roses ... priceless.


ROTFLMAO! I want one, and then I want to convert it to a plug in hybrid, but I make $1200 a month, so I don't see that happening any time soon
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Unread 10-24-2006, 09:11 AM   #13
bird
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bird
What's a 'car note'?
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Unread 10-24-2006, 10:47 AM   #14
attackferret
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QrkyMoon
(Btw, how feasible is it to live in Madison car-free? I would love to move there.)

unless you really don't want to go hiking, or are willing to bike every time you want to go hiking, i think it would suck to live in madison without a car. devil's lake is sooo close (1/2 hour drive) and there are tons of really nice little parks a short drive away. there are a few little hikes in madison which are decent, but it's just not the same. oh, the irony of needing to own a car to lose yourself in nature...

p.s. i'm also curious. what is a car note?
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Unread 10-24-2006, 11:01 AM   #15
nauthiz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attackferret
unless you really don't want to go hiking, or are willing to bike every time you want to go hiking, i think it would suck to live in madison without a car.

Mountain biking is an issue, but for hiking and cross-country skiing there's always the Arboretum. It's not huge, but it has a few miles of trails.

But yeah, I've been thinking about that whole issue, and I've decided that on the visiting parks thing it really seems to come down to a choice between caring for nature and getting to look at nature. Of course, renting a car for one weekend out of every month is still way cheaper than owning a car, so fairly frequent weekend camping trips wouldn't be hard to swing. It'd be extra cheap if you can find two or three other people to come with.
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