AAA: Ride-Hailing Twice The Cost Of Car Ownership

Even With High Parking Costs, Car Ownership Cheaper For Urbanites

double yellow road line with cracks

Ride-hailing services are a popular and convenient transportation option, but a new AAA analysis  shows they are not a cost-effective replacement for vehicle ownership.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average driver in an urban area – the only setting in which using these services are a practical  full-time transportation option – drives 10,841 miles per year.

While urban drivers travel fewer miles than those living in smaller towns or rural areas, relying on ride-hailing services as a primary mode of transportation would cost $20,118 annually. This equates to more than twice the cost of owning a personal vehicle, even when factoring in the expense of fuel, insurance, parking and the vehicle itself.

“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 most cost-effective choice.”

For the study, AAA analyzed the costs of ride-hailing services (including the use of an occasional rental car) in 20 major urban areas, including Los Angeles and San Diego. Based on the average number of miles traveled by urban residents, annual ride-hailing costs are as follows:

Atlanta

$17,741

Nashville

$26,397

Austin

$19,821

New York

$21,279

Baltimore

$19,917

Philadelphia

$23,201

Boston

$27,545

Phoenix

$17,436

Chicago

$22,020

Pittsburgh

$18,940

Cleveland

$20,091

Salt Lake City

$18,866

Dallas

$16,944

San Diego

$17,316

Denver

$20,434

San Francisco

$21,972

Los Angeles

$17,951

Seattle

$23,951

Miami

$17,339

Washington, D.C.

$21,093

 

According to data from AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study, the average annual cost to own and operate a new vehicle, the costliest form of vehicle ownership, is $7,321 for 10,841 miles of travel annually. Understanding that parking costs can be a major ownership expense for those living in urban areas, AAA also analyzed the costs of flat-rate parking per year, which ranges from $706 (Phoenix) to $8,088 (New York), with an average cost of $2,728. For those with access to free parking, relying on ride-hailing services is nearly three times more expensive than vehicle ownership in these cities.

“For those who travel a very limited number of miles annually, or have mobility issues that prevent them from driving a personal vehicle, ride-hailing can be a viable and important option,” continued Nielsen. “But, for everyone else: the car is still king.”

Vehicle owners looking to minimize their operating costs should consider the following:

Buy (gently) used – Depreciation is the single largest expense for vehicle owners. By    driving a pre-owned vehicle in good condition, ownership costs are significantly lower. A safe, reliable vehicle can be found at an attractive price point.

Fuel responsibly – Avoid wasting money on premium gasoline unless your vehicle specifically requires it and, if you’re one of the 20 percent of Americans considering an electric car, these vehicles offer lower fuel and maintenance costs.

Show your car some love – It sounds counterintuitive, but spending money on routine maintenance can actually save you money in the end. To keep engines running longer, consider switching to synthetic oil and upgrading to TOP TIER™ gasoline.

Slow down – When gas prices are high, small changes in the way you drive can make a big difference.

To determine the average number of miles traveled by a city-dweller, AAA’s analysis leveraged data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s American Driving Survey. AAA’s Your Driving Costs data served as the basis for all car ownership calculations, factoring in depreciation, fuel, maintenance, repair, financing, insurance, license, registration costs and taxes.

Total cost of ride-hailing is based on data from 243,838 economy-level, single rider trips in 20 U.S. urban areas and does not factor in costs associated with carpooling or multimodal transportation options.

On average, those using ride-hailing services spent an average of $13.15 per trip, spending 15.11 minutes and traveling 6.66 miles. Ride-hailing costs include the occasional use of rental vehicles for longer distance travel. More information is available at newsroom.aaa.com.

 

Media Contacts

Elaine Beno
(714) 885-2324
Beno.Elaine@aaa-calif.com
Doug Shupe
LA-based media contact
512-659-1632
shupe.doug@aaa-calif.com