Using Uber Could Be More Affordable Than Driving Your Own Car

The average new car loan recently hit a record of $31,455 in the United States and the increasing cost of new vehicles has pushed a number of consumers to look for more affordable options.

Services like Lyft and Uber are one alternative as they enable users to avoid a costly initial purchase as well as related expenses such as fuel, maintenance and insurance. Of course, they also have a number of downsides as rides might not be available when you need one and they can be expensive during peak times.

Ride-sharing services are popular in large cities and a recent report suggests they could actually be more affordable than car ownership in a handful of locations. As noticed by TechCrunch, Kleiner Perkins’ 2018 Internet Trends report says using Uber is a better option than owning a car in four of the five largest cities in the United States.

According to the report, New York City is the most expensive place to own a personal car as weekly transportation costs – including gas, maintenance, insurance and parking – would be $218. For comparison, using Uber would only cost $142 a week.

Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are significantly more affordable in terms of car ownership and Uber usage, but the ride-sharing service still has the edge. Depending on the city, using Uber could save people between $27 and $39 per week. That doesn’t sound like much but it could add up to nearly $2,028 a year.

The only major city to buck the trend was Dallas where using Uber would be nearly three times more expensive than using your own car. As the report notes, using a personal vehicle in Texas’ largest city would only cost $65 a week while using Uber would be $181.

Everyone’s situation is different but it’s no secret that parking in major cities can be expensive. In particular, someone was trying to sell a parking spot in New York City for a million dollars six year ago.

  • PhilMcGraw

    And how much would it be per week to just use public transportation like a bus or subway? Also, I would be curious to see the breakdown of the estimates for gas, insurance, and parking. Where I live, it costs $8 a day to park your car in a deck which already adds up to $40 during the work week but I know of other cities where it can be higher than that. And are these vehicles gas guzzlers or fuel efficient? Because that again could be a significant difference.

    • ErnieB

      But who wants to sit next to a smelling drunk person?!?!

  • ProtectOurHeritage

    Using Uber could be more affordable than driving my own car, but at least I know my car will never try to rape me.

  • brn


    If you’re a light car user, absolutely. If you use your car every day, no.

  • benT

    In my city I know of a fellow who has sold one of his two cars and uses Uber exclusively and this has been his transport for the past 2 years. He an accountant and worked on numbers that included the fact of transporting his teenage children requiring “a lift” from him or his wife over weekends and weeknights for various social and sporting activities.
    He has replaced the car ($800 per month) with an Uber account ($600 per month).
    PLUS he and his wife have at least 2 days a week extra to themselves as there is no need for them to be running around after their kids!!

    • brn

      Must be a lot of short and easy drives. I just ran my commute through the calculator and it came to $1000/month. Toss in the rest of the driving I have to do and we’re looking at $1500/month. Now, if I want a car to drive on vacation, I need to rent one.

      Car services make a lot of sense for a lot of people. For a lot more of us, it doesn’t.

      • benT

        HE is an accountant. Drives would be no more/less than the majority of parents do make. I know where he lives and the general commitment. PLUS as mentioned he is a parent and he gets a statement of where his kids went with whom how much & how to get them back and feels comfortable with U drivers but NEVER a taxi driver in this city. Further no maintenance on a second car ( I mentioned they had two ).
        You must live in the sticks by a long way. Further every one is different. Fuel in this city had increased by 40% in the past 8 months and does not look at all like it’s coming down.

        • brn

          Yep, we all live in different circumstances.

  • TheBelltower

    $218 weekly seems cheap for NYC. Parking alone is $700/month in Manhattan. Insurance is another $225. Tolls are $10 each way. Then there’s the cost to buy and maintain the car. It’s absurdly expensive for something most people only use on weekends, and not to commute.

  • Galaxium

    I used Uber and a bus pass for a year in a city. Definitely cheaper than car ownership in the short-term but not in the long-run.

  • Da Only Skid

    See this is great for large, very large, cities if you have at least one household vehicle IMO. It all comes down to checks and balances. Do you ever leave the city? US vacay, contiguous travel? Rentals are there but freedom, regardless of ones connotation, is limited without relying on a “service.” Granted peeps have friends who may have cars but the ability to just say “fuck it” and get up and go on your own would be more precious than an Uber/Lift would ever present. Personal travel is freedom and many people don’t really seem to care about personal freedoms these days.

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