If the news about a vaccine for COVID-19 being almost ready is true, we should be getting back to normal life in no time. Yes, soon, we'll start moving around the city like we used to. But, in today's society, there is no shortage of ways to get around. As ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft grow in popularity, the public transport landscape continues to change across the country. Many Houstonians rely on these ridesharing services to get around, day in and day out, from heading to the grocery store (and back) to getting to work (and back). Individually, each trip fare may seem fair and relatively inexpensive, but don't be mistaken; Uber and Lyft costs add up faster than you'd think.
At the same time, many Houstonians prefer to buy and drive their own vehicle to get around because they have more control over their schedule and, most likely, their budget. When purchasing a new car is not an option, the alternative is to buy a reliable used car. Of course, there are costs associated with owning your own car. So, which should you choose?
Here's everything you need to know about buying a used car vs. using Uber and how these two options compare financially.
Clearly, there are convenience factors associated with owning a used car and using rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft. With rideshare, you leave the driving to others, you are dropped off right in front of where you are going (vs. parking in a far-away parking lot or available space on the street), plus there is no maintenance to be concerned with.
On the other hand, with your own ride, you can get going any time you want, no need to wait for anyone. Plus, your car is your sanctuary, a space of your own that you don't need to share with strangers during these strange times.
If you can live with either of these set of "convenience" factors, then your decision to buy a used car vs. using a ride share service comes down to costs, doesn't it? So, let's take a look at each.
How Much Does it Cost to Own a Used Car?
Before you compare the costs of owning a used car and using Uber or Lyft, it's helpful to consider the relevant expenses. These are some of the main expenses that you'll have to prepare for as a used car owner:
- Car maintenance
- Car insurance
- Cost of the car and warranty.
According to AAA, the US's average cost of owning a car is about $5,820 a year. However, this price varies based on the type of used car you own as well as its age. Typical insurance costs also vary depending on your age and driving record. But on average, including insurance, gas, car payment ($200) and gasoline costs it is estimated that it would cost you $485 a month to own your own car.
Keep in mind that gas prices tend to fluctuate more than insurance and maintenance costs, which is why it's important to calculate your annual mileage. For reference, drivers who travel at least 12,000 miles every year (the average amount of miles driven each year) can expect to pay up to $1500 a year on gasoline (that’s 545 gallons @$2.75 p/g and 22 miles p/g).
So, if on average it costs $5820 to own a used car…
How Much Does it Cost to Use Uber?
When comparing owning a used car vs. using Uber, you also want to take the average Uber costs into account. The typical cost of riding Uber depends heavily on the time of day you ride and the length of your trips. On average, an Uber trip is priced at about $0.80 per mile. However, this number can rise significantly if you ride during peak hours, such as rush hour in a big city.
In addition, Uber usually charges a booking fee to customers. The average cost of this fee is about $2.80 in total.
Let's say you travel 12,000 miles every year, and the average cost for Houston is around $1.00 per mile. If you consider going to work and back (2 trips) plus going to the supermarket or elsewhere at least once a day, that would be a total of 4 trips daily or 28 trips every week. That’s 28 booking fees right there!
Therefore, using the numbers above for the average costs of Uber or Lyft, on an annual basis that comes to the following:
12k miles @$1 p/m= $12,000
28 booking fees every week, 52 weeks a year
@ $2.80 (booking fee) = $4,076.
The total cost per year for using Uber or Lyft: $14,076.
That means you could save around $10,000 a year by owning your own vehicle compared to using Uber! Think of all the things you can do with that, plus you get to move your life forward whenever you want!
So, owning a Used Car vs. Using Uber: Which Is the Better Option?
While the costs of driving a used car vs. using Uber can vary greatly, if you use the average costs for both, on an annual basis, using Uber is almost always the less cost-effective option, by far. There are many conveniences to Rideshare services, when used every once in a while. But when it comes to your every-day means of transportation, the numbers just don’t add up.
In conclusion, when you take the various fees and trip lengths into account, it makes more sense to invest your money in a used car. To find a wide variety of used cars with plenty of customization options, stop by Shabana Motors. With a 2-year warranty included on all of our vehicles and the support and personal attention of a family-owned business, Shabana Motors will ensure that you purchase a reliable used car you can afford, now and in the future. All while looking and feeling fresh as you keep your life moving forward.
We offer in-house financing. We can help you get the car you need to regain the freedom to keep your life moving forward.
Browse through our site to see what we have to offer, or give us a call if you have any questions.
We look forward to getting you set up with a new used vehicle today!