Why owning an average car costs $650 000+

Why owning an average car costs $650 000+

People underestimate how much owning a car costs by 52%. Even a cheap car costs a fortune to its owner, and yet another …


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  1. If you have questions about how these numbers came to be, check out my sources and calculations: https://1drv.ms/x/s!AnEbV6tNc655iOxRCEGuJwAYd6SCEw?e=rQilM0

    If you are looking for an e-bike, check out the Cowboy (affiliate link): https://www.tkqlhce.com/click-100602223-15255602

    – The 4144 EUR rail ticket apparently includes free city-wide transit as well. I didn't know this, but that would make the calculation at 6:18 even cheaper.

    – The Berlin public transport figures only include BVG, not S-Bahn & Regio (both cost and revenue side). This is done simply because BVG figures are more easily broken out, while the rail figures are harder to separate from the German Rail figures who runs them. Note that this means that there are actually more people taking public transportation because of this than I said, but for the sake of a cost calculation, the BVG figures should be accurate.
    – Note that I'm comparing total cost of car ownership (including non-financialized externalities, such as pollution) vs. public transport/bikes costs, which don't fully include externalized costs. This is because such numbers have not been accurately been made for a comparison as far as I know. This means this is not a perfect comparison. That said, keep in mind that public transport companies, unlike private car owners, do have to directly pay for the vast majority of their own infrastructure except bus lanes (rail infrastructure, parking, repair, accidents, etc.), and cause much less pollution (a tram here in Berlin does 1/7th per passenger vs. cars for example) and meanwhile bikes take up about 1/10th as much space for both parking and riding as cars + their roads don't need to be re-paved nearly as often. So keep in mind that these costs are not included, but they would hardly tip the scales.

  2. in 2010 i bought a honda fit for sticker price 13k~ after a nice rebait, and taxes and stuff, it was about 13k~
    Since then, i have spent
    tires – 3k
    oil – 750$ (50% of my changes i have done on my own)
    Registration/inspection – 1500k
    Cruise control buttom repair – 350$
    AC clutch – 1500$ (yeah i paid for that one)
    Wiper blades – 250$
    Rainbow – 100$
    Other fluides – 2000$
    Fuel -the one thing i don't keep track of, but i get on avg 36mgp and am at 175k miles. So you can figure that out….
    Sooo my car is cheap as fuck, not even CLOSE to the numbers in this video….

    I 100% agree, it is costly and most people really shouldn't have cars. But saying they are 650k+ is kinda silly….
    if you account for oppernunity cost, like how much i didn't invest, yes, after 60 years it would be kinda close to that.

  3. 17:17 lol .. comparing one of the biggest countries to one of the smallest and richest and most expensive in the world. It may not the best argument. 🙄
    In Switzerland, you also can have 10 Gb Internet at home for 36chf

  4. 16:32 this number is not just wrong, but you sweep people who live in our area where they would have to carry their groceries for 15 minutes from the public transportation to their house, or would be completely reliant to organize their private life around times when they can still catch public transport, together with the ones in real dense city areas like Berlin, that only make up a small percentage of the overall population

  5. 3:34 the problem Here is just that the total new car registrations in Germany per year are just 250,000… Which is where you are outlanders number is based on.

    If we assume that only half of the total population of Germany is able to own a car. Then your numbers still only applies to 0,00625% of the population. Which makes your whole argument invalid, and you should leave informing people about this to the experts and not a tech a YouTuber…

  6. 2:52 I can’t see it in the video but I hope the biggest point here, the depreciation is not calculated linear. Otherwise this throws off your calculation by a few hundred percent over the lifetime of a car.

  7. 10:48 this only works for people who live really close or inside a city. Which is around 10 to 14% of the German population.
    For everyone else public transportation is as convenient as telling someone to write their thesis with a stick because it’s similar to a pencil

  8. The problem with this view is the fact that most transportation of goods on land is done by trucks, at least in Europe. Those trucks need those same roads as every other car. However, that doesn't mean public transport isn't a great alternative. I also use public transport instead of a car to go to work and get around.

  9. Great video! This has motivated me to more closely pay attention and record how much I am actually spending. My goal is to keep using my current paid off car until I improve my circumstances to the point that I can get rid of it and go car-free

  10. I live in Australia, but lucky enough to live close to a station which I use to get around most of the time or on my eBike if I'm travelling off-peak. I only use the car on weekends mostly and to cover nearby trips where the public transport doesn't cover. It's an older small car, and I can't even think what I would replace it when it gets too old. EVs are all huge, and all the remaining small cars are either premium European cars or a Chinese car or questionable reputation. Hoping the government follows their promise and keep improving public transport in the long run.

  11. A golf isn’t ‘extremely’ small, it’s not even the smallest hatchback sold by VW. It’s a standard size hatchback. And it’s actually somewhat expensive and has a bunch of tech features, there are much cheaper entry level cars for like half the price.

  12. you tell that cars make people poor and keep taxes high but keep telling copenhangen is great and is fuill of bikes and buss and more for public transport all major cities in Denmark is like that problem is that proves you whole augment wrong as flat earths public transport makes taxes higher Denmark has the some of the highest taxes in world if not the highest thatch not gonna change and public transport sucks ass here if you want people to stop using cars find a real replacement not this bullshit that some conspiracy theorist have forced into place


    the concert jungle isnt for everyone and will never be tell me 1 country that have manged to kill the car 100% ill wait because it dost exist

    and for some reason buss and car sharing dosnt need roads and parking becuse thats only private owned cars that needs roads and parking for some magical reason

  13. INCORRECT @ 1:41 — That's not how taxes work, especially in regards of cars. They collect A LOT more in taxes than it takes to maintain and build roads etc. afaik this is global thing.
    What end user paid was for very large portion of taxes, not all of them are visible taxes.

    Yea this sounds like green moronity hit piece against car ownership.

  14. 50 years of golf replacements every 12 years should be more like 300k euros rather than 400k, and that's only if you buy NEW every time and don't sell any of them. Used would be way cheaper. Where i live in Toronto, it's unrealistic to not own a car, hence why literally everyone has one. Most places can't be reached by public transportation, and even if it could, would take way longer (time is money). Public transit also sucks, the ride is not comfortable, stinks, and crowded during rush hour. You mentioned if we spent more money in it, it will get better in 70 years – well it sucks now and I'll be dead in 70 years. Lots of people also like their cars and enjoy driving rather than treating cars strictly like an appliance for going from A to B (but i guess driving is less fun in europe). Lots of people also drive to the mountains to do outdoor activities like hiking, camping, snowboarding, etc.

  15. But how much does not owning a car cost? Bike, Train, Bus, car sharing apps and everything else you need to use more because you don't have a car? I can see this being way less but still we need those calculations too.

  16. I find your estimates conservative. Lol. I do agree. I think a city, can produce a return, for the public. Actually second hand cars are nore expensive, in every way. Tons of unseen junk fees. In the US the amount of corporate welfare going to those companies are the invisible hand.

  17. May own sanity check on these calculations. My current car, a Ford Focus 1.6 diesel is similar to a Golf. In 2008 it cost me just under £14k, and if I convert that to current day value, that is £22k, or £1.5k per year. That depreciation cost per year will only go down as I have no plans to replace it in the near future. Also, it's an overestimate at it values my car at £0, which is most definitely not true. Fuel costs me a bit less than £1k per year, and maintenance, mot, insurance, road tax, considerably less than £1k per year. So let us say £3.5 k or €4k per year. If I drive for 60 years, then that is about €240k over my lifetime. However, for most of my life, I have driven older, second-hand cars, so depreciation would have been less in those cases. It is just a sanity check, and whilst we can quibble over details, I do not think there is a large direct cost I have forgotten which will make a difference of a factor of over 2.5:1.

    Also, even at the rate of 7,657 Euros per year, to reach that $650,000, then you would have to drive for around 80 years. That means, starting at 18, you have to be driving until the age of 98. I would venture that's a tiny, tiny number of people, and is certainly not typical. Also, you can't just keep adding 2.5% costs every year, you have to normalise them, and adding nominal amounts for inflation is a distortion. The sensible thing to do is present cost at the current time as we can more easily relate to that. Hence I have adjusted the initial capital cost of my car in 2008 to what that would be now before calculating depreciation (assuming zero current value).

    I would also question the claim that taxes on road users (road tax, fuel duty, VAT) do not cover costs of road maintenance and construction, at least in the UK. I have downloaded the public expenditure spreadsheet for Great Britain (which is Wales, Scotland and England bu excludes Northern Ireland). That's the vast majority (about 97%) of the UK population.

    I have chose 2019, as the pandemic distorted expenditure on transport, especially public transport and it did, of course, distort revenues from car usage too. If I look at total capital expenditure on roads for both central and local government, that comes out at £7.7 bn with total current account expenditure of £2.1 bn. Total expenditure on road maintenance and building was thus £9.8 bn in 2019. No doubt there are some other attributable costs, such as policing, but they aren't going to multiply that effect by a large factor.

    If I take the tax revenue attributable to use of the road, which I would defined as fuel excise duty and vehicle excise duty (road tax), then in 2019 that amounted to £27.6 bn and £6.9 bn respectively, or £34.5 bn in total. If I attribute a population shared of that to Great Britain, then that's £33.5 bn. Note that I have explicitly excluded VAT on fuel, cars, maintenance costs and so on as general taxation. If I did not do that the revenue would be much higher.

    On the personal expenditure comparison, I find the assumptions ridiculous too. It's living in a particular city and, as far as I can see, almost all travel being within that city. It does not factor in many other things, such as (picking up a few) driving my 92 year old mother to see my disabled brother once every two weeks (about 200 km each time). It doesn't factor in being able to take tools and supplies in my car to do work on my brother's property, something which I spent about 6 months fitting out when we had it converted for his needs, each trip being another 80 km. It doesn't factor in doing various jobs for my mother. Try taking a garden shredder on public transport, of my plumbing gear, or the ladder, of giant telescopic pruner. It doesn't factor in the use of my car for charity work, or dozens of other things which are either impractical by public transport, or I would have to pay somebody to do. In short, comparing the personal cost of a car very much depends on circumstances and needs. If I was young, lived in a large city and didn't have various elderly and disabled relatives to assist

    So, even if there are other attributable government costs, such as the aforementioned policing, then I don't think that's going to come anywhere near that huge difference of about £25 bn. Of course there's an argument to be made about externalised costs, but then there's also one to be made about the economic benefit provided by a functional road system. Also, public transport has externalised costs too.

    I would also mention public transport as well, as in 2019, UK national and local government spent £10.5 bn on railway capital expenditure (that is more than on roads) as well as £6.1 bn on current account costs. That's £16.6 bn total expenditure on railways, or far more than was spent on the roads. To that we can add a further £2.4 bn expenditure on other public transport, mostly on buses and trams.

    So, to repeat, I find the claim that road users do not fully fund the road system via their taxes raised purely related to road, not general tax items rather questionable, at least in a UK context. Maybe it's different in other countries, like Germany or the USA.

  18. I agree with car ownership being very costly, but how can depreciation be listed in your yearly costs? Unless you lease your car, and upgrade every time your contract ended, you only pay the price of your car once. Paying $3000 for depreciation yearly seems suspect if you calculate the cost of owning a car for 40 years.

  19. Owning a car doesn't have to be too expensive. I tracked every single expense including depreciation on my used Honda Accord and it came to $8000 over five years. So 133 dollar a month.

  20. This car sharing is as bad as it can be.
    1 I had to book it well in advance because it was always taken in peak hours that is after work hours.
    2) Always in Rush because I had to return it at a set time because someone was waiting for it.
    3) It was taking like half an hour walk to get it.
    4) Sometimes some other issues like a flat tyre or low on fuel. It's pretty annoying.
    When I signed up I though like you, now I've got my own car and cannot be happier.
    Just buy one which is not that expensive, there are really good bargains and if you can change oil yourself it won't be that expensive.

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