A handful of analysts have suggested ride-hailing services – such as Uber and Lyft – will usher in the era of “peak car” and a decline in private car ownership. However, a new study from AAA suggests this is a horrible idea.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, consumers thinking about ditching their car for ride-hailing services should think again. The group says the average person in urban areas drives around 10,841 miles (17,446 km) every year. That’s a significant amount of mileage and using ride-hailing services as the primary method of transport would cost urbanities around $20,118 (£15,589 / €17,382) annually.
That’s more than the cost of some new cars and AAA says the figure is “more than twice the cost of owning a personal vehicle, even when factoring in the expense of fuel, insurance, parking and the vehicle itself.”
AAA ran the math for a number of different cities and found that using ride-hailing services, as well as the occasional rental car, would cost well over $20,000 (£15,498 / €17,280) in a handful of major cities. The costs vary by city and Dallas was the most affordable with an annual price tag of $16,944 (£13,130 / €14,640). Boston, on the other hand, was the most expensive as it would cost $27,545 (£21,343 / €23,798) every year.
While owning a gas-guzzling truck isn’t easy on the wallet, it’s still significantly cheaper than relying on ride-hailing services. According to AAA, driving a pickup 10,841 miles (17,446 km) every year would only cost $7,321 (£5,672 / €6,325).
Of course, city dwellers also have to deal with parking and that can cost up to $8,088 (£6,266 / €6,988) a year in New York. However, the average across all the cities was $2,728 (£2,113 / €2,357).
The end result of all this was best summed up by AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair who said “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.” However, “for everyone else: the car is still king.”