I have owned my car, a 2002 Firebird, one of the last Firebirds ever made since I bought it nearly new (only 900 miles) from a dealership in June 2003. Since then I have cared for it and treated is as my most prized possession. And, emotionally, I love the car. But as much as I love the car, financially it is a poor investment.
Until this year, I had never really considered the numbers, but when I finally did, I understood exactly how bad the car is for finances. Car insurance costs $1200 a year and that is with the best discounts available. Additionally, the garage where I keep the car costs $900 a year. Furthermore, between maintenance, inspection, and registration, I spend approximately another $400 a year. That is $2500 a year before fuel.
Over the past few years fuel has been relatively cheap. I only drive about 10 miles a week, because I only travel to a few different places. About twice I year I also make a 300 mile round trip. Overall, I am spending roughly $400 a year on fuel. This low fuel cost, though, is further evidence of how little I need the car. Everywhere I currently drive is either in walking distance or on a bus route and my long trips are generally to a major city that is both on a major bus route and train route.
In comparison, an annual bus pass in the city I live costs a little under $1100 a year, or a little under $1200 a year if I paid monthly. A train trip twice a year would cost approximately $200 – $300 total, depending on time of year. I could easily save approximately $1500 a year and greatly reduce my risk of being in an accident, just by selling my car. In fact, the sale of the car would probably pay for my first few years of travel expenses.
My heart is sore at the thought, but I simply do not travel enough to justify the ownership of a car. I will miss my car insurance agent. He has been a friend for almost two decades, but I won’t let that stop me. Maybe I’ll stop in his office every once in a while and offer to buy him lunch, just to keep from losing touch.