Hold your hailing: AAA study finds using ride-sharing apps over twice the annual cost of car ownership

August 23, 2018

Thinking of ditching your car to save money now that you live in an urban area? Think again. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published Tuesday found that using ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft instead of owning a car would cost over twice as much annually on average.

The study, which analyzed over 240,000 single-rider trips in 20 urban areas across the country, found an average cost of $13.15 for 15.11 minutes that covered 6.66 miles. AAA also found that the average urban driver covers 10,841 miles per year, which would make for a total cost of $20,118 if ride-hailing was used for all of those miles.

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“Whether you own a vehicle or not, ride-hailing services are a convenient transportation option,” said John Nielsen, a managing director at AAA. “However, with the average American city-dweller driving nearly 11,000 miles per year, a personal vehicle is still the more cost-effective choice.

The average annual cost of owning a new vehicle (the costliest form of ownership), according to the AAA, rang in at an average of $7,321 annually, including car payments, insurance, fuel, and parking averaging anywhere from $706 in Phoenix to $8,088 in New York City.

Interestingly, the study also included the average annual cost of ride-hailing over the same distance broken down by major metropolitan area, of which Boston was the most expensive at $27,545 per year, and Dallas was the least expensive, at $16,944. Eighteen other cities, from Atlanta to Seattle, were included in the results.

Of course, it’s important to consider that ditching a car for city living would likely account for far fewer miles driven in a year, as public transportation, cycling, or even walking would reduce that total significantly. But if you were thinking Uber or Lyft was a convenient alternative to commuting with your own car, think again.


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