Owning a car - one year in review.

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About this time last year, we moved to the suburbs, and bought a beautiful second-hand Toyota Camry. I’ve previously written about the true costs of owning a car. But while I have owned one in the past, I didn’t at the time of that blog post. I was a happy GoGet customer, paying for the (few) times I actually needed a car.

A year on. I thought it might be fun to learn how much this car cost us.

Here is the breakdown:

Description Cost
Depreciation $2 360
Petrol $615
Insurance & Rego $1 342
Maintenance $693
Total $5 000

Our car depreciated much quicker than the 9% I allowed for in the calculator. My method for calculating the lost value on the car was to estimate what I could sell it for today. I’m a lousy salesman, a buyer would negotiate me to the bottom of the market price. So that’s what I picked for the current value. Next year, I’ll also be picking the bottom of the market value, so I expect the depreciation to settle down to the expected 9% number.

While using Goget and Flexicar we formed a habit of batching up everything we needed a car for into the one block of time. That habit has stuck even now that I own a car. For example I take my kids to the pool and also do my weekly shop at ALDI during the same trip. If we are visiting my parents we will stop off at some speciality food stores out that way.

It is hard to do an exact comparison between owning a car and using a car share service. For example, there are no share cars in the suburb we live in, owning a car is an unfortunate necessity. Rent in the areas that car share services are available is higher than we pay. On balance, owning a car has not saved us significant amounts of money, nor made our lives more enjoyable. I still firmly believe that car share services are a competitive option for those living closer to the city.

You don’t need to own a car (but I do).

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