Comparing the Price of Uber and Car Ownership

Kyle Hill compares the cost of exclusively riding Uber to owning a car in the car-centric city of Los Angeles.
September 3, 2014, 6am PDT | Maayan Dembo | @DJ_Mayjahn
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Alfredo Mendez

As reported by Ryan Lawler in TechCrunch, Hill calculated the cost of owning a car based on gas mileage, cost of gas, length of one's commute, and general parking costs. On average, driving and owning a mid-sized sedan in the US was about $8,876. Factoring in annual traffic and parking ticket cost, along with an "opportunity cost" of driving versus a mode of public transportation (where, presumably, you can answer emails and "get stuff done"), Hill estimated car ownership to be around $12,744.

Using U.S. Census Bureau estimates of number of trips and time spent in their cars each year, based on the cost of UberX in Los Angeles, Hill found that a user would pay $18,115 per year if riding Uber exclusively. Hill used the base fare and mileage costs for Los Angeles, and these costs vary greatly depending on the market. More importantly, the model does not factor surge pricing, mostly active during peak commute hours.

For the average Uber rider in Los Angeles, the crossover point when Uber is cheaper than owning a car is around 9,481 miles a year.

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Published on Monday, September 1, 2014 in TechCrunch
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