Monday, April 23, 2012

My Transportation Bill

It's pretty expensive to own a car.

Most people don't think twice about it; it's so "normal" to have one, and so engrained in our society, that many folks cannot imagine making the choice to simply do without. Of course, going carless is only possible if you have transportation options around you; typically only possible if you live in a city.

Anyways, here is a transportation cost comparison, based on my family's scenario.

We start with the cost to own an average car. It's $8k per year (from this CAA brochure), for a modest car (not a minivan, which costs about $10k per year). Most of the families on my street own 2 cars, if not 3. (Interesting factoid: all my fellow cheapo-scientist colleagues own only one. Maybe it's something about getting a science degree??)

Anyways, in my family, Mummy and Daddy bike and/or take transit to work, and our two teenaged sons bike, skateboard, or walk to school. We don't need a car on a daily basis.

Our monthly transportation expenses:
Modo payment: $200/mo for weekly use doing errands and grocery shopping (includes gas, maintenance, cleaning, insurance).
2 1-zone his-'n'-hers Employer Pass transit passes through Modo: $150/mo

For in-province longer trips we rent, or "Modo", usually once per year:
$300 /yr
(note: we don't tend to drive out-of-province for vacations...we'll fly in and then rent locally, if required. I'm not adding these costs.)

So this adds up to about $4500 per year. Now I need to add the costs of owning and operating our bikes, which we use heavily:

Costs of owning 4 bikes (which are replaced every 5 years) per year:
$800/year ownership costs + $300/year maintenance = $1100/year

I suppose a fairer comparison might be to remove the bike ownership costs from the equation, because many households have bikes (whether they use them or not). The maintenance I should definitely leave in, because we actually use our bikes a lot and bring them in for quarterly tuneups at Cap's (where, I might add, we are treated like royalty!).

But let's leave all those costs in for now. Added together, this brings our family's yearly transportation budget to something like $5600/year. Hard to beat, especially as the cars I get to drive are clean, well-maintained, less than 4 years old, and plus I have a stable of minivans, hatchbacks, sedans, and trucks to choose from! What's not to love???

Why doesn't everyone on my street do this?


  1. Well, the Average Canadian Household ONLY spends more than $7 THOUSAND per year on their car. That's only $87 billion in Canada each year. No Question the Car is destroying the economy.

    1 car: Stupid
    2 cars: Crazy
    3 cars: Are you out of your mind!!!

  2. I am really hoping Modo starts adding more locations in New West soon. I'm moving to Mowat Street at the end of the month and there is nothing close to my location. I still plan to use the vehicles that do exist but more would be nice.