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Research Quantifies the High Price of the Massachusetts Car Economy

Car culture isn't free, even for people who don't own cars.
December 13, 2019, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Nestor Ramos shares news of research recently published by a team of graduates at the Harvard Kennedy School that quantifies the cost of cars on the economy of Massachusetts. The final estimated figure is staggering: $64 billion.

"That astronomical estimate includes all the things we don’t often think about when we get into our cars — costs that extend far beyond what we pay at the dealership or the pump. And the biggest slice of that giant pie gets paid for before anybody actually signs a lease or gets behind the wheel," according to Ramos.

"The costs we all bear include everything from the maintenance of road surfaces across Massachusetts ($1.4 billion) and the estimated annual value of the land we’ve paved for roads and parking ($8.7 billion) to the indirect but very real costs of productivity lost due to time sitting in traffic ($4.6 billion) and as a result of injuries and deaths on the road ($10.5 billion)," reports Ramos.

When that $64 billion is broken down to the household level, the study finds that the average Massachusetts family pays about $14,000 for that total every year, whether they own a car or not. "For those who do own vehicles, the average annual costs nearly double."

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Published on Friday, December 13, 2019 in The Boston Globe
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