The drive to invest in the automotive industry has all but died with Americans aged 40 and younger, and the reason isn’t because today’s car models have no appeal. Today’s vehicles cost a pretty penny, and that cost is still significant even after making a down payment.
Vehicles need regular maintenance with scheduled oil changes at least once every 5,000 miles. Add in gas prices and repairs and you’re looking at several hundred dollars a month. According to AAA, for vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year, the average cost of car ownership was about $706 a month, or $8,469 a year.
Of course, even without a vehicle, we still need to get travel. Sometimes the grocery store is just too far away to walk. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to owning a vehicle that can help you get around without gutting your budget.
Get your bike on
If you live in the city, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of bicyclists. This is usually because, in big cities and other urban areas, it’s often easier to get around via bike than it is with a car.
For those who don’t need to bike around very often, many cities offer bike-sharing services that make it easy to access this mode of transportation. However, if you need to get to places outside your walking distance on the regular, it might be in your best interest to buy a bike of your own.
Depending on the type of bike you want, bicycles can get pricey, ranging anywhere from $200 to $1,000. But if you’re looking for a standard, no-bells-and-whistles mountain bike, you might be able to get one for less than $150.
Just be sure to keep on the lookout for drivers who may not see you on the road. Since 2019, bicycle accidents involving vehicles have increased by 38%, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported 379 fatal crashes related to impaired drivers in just 2017. Always use hand signals, wear a helmet, and be sure to follow the rules of the road.
Public transport and ride-sharing
Public transportation is a great alternative to owning a vehicle depending on the city you live in. Certain cities have more reliable buses and trains than others, and bus fare is typically under $5.
If public transport can’t get you where you need to go, or can only get you part of the way, ride-sharing services can do the rest. Uber’s ride-sharing service is available in 263 U.S. cities and Lyft is available in 644.
Rent a vehicle when you need one
For some transportation situations, having a car is ideal. Fortunately, you don’t need to own one to use one. Car rental agencies allow you to rent a vehicle anywhere from a day to several months at a time. You can rent a truck for moving, rent a car for making big grocery shopping trips, or rent a van for day trips and camping. About 50% of people travel less than 100 miles away from home when camping.
Although the price range varies depending on location, the average cost to rent a car for a day is anywhere between $45 to $65. The average cost to rent a car for a week is about $335, or about $48 a day.
Not owning a vehicle can throw you for a loop in some situations. But with today’s ride-sharing and bike-sharing alternatives, getting around without your own car is that much easier and you save a lot of money in the long run.