The Real Cost of a Ride By: Stephanie Hoover

Don’t you miss the days when you could carpool with someone and throw $5-$10 a week for gas money at them? Unfortunately, gas is much more expensive and ride-bummers might not truly understand how much their ride is costing the owner. For instance, this is what it generally costs me for my vehicle (and I’m told mine is relatively cheap!):

Car: $200/month (‘08 Saturn Vue- which was purchased from and affects my credit score)

Gas: $40/tank (for a small SUV)

Insurance: $60/month (full coverage)

Tags: $173 (paid yearly)

Oil Change: $20-$50 (every three-ish months)


Then we come to the real fun part of miscellaneous maintenance and repairs.

Catalytic Converter: $1,500

Tire Replacement: $92-$216/tire (not including putting them on)

Tire Rotation: $24-$80

Alignment: $75-$200

Full Inspection: $100 (average)

Accidents without Insurance Coverage: HA! Varies, but let’s go with $$$$$

Deductibles: $250+; Standard $500(ish)

Rental Car Coverage: $50 (average, per day)

Car Wash: $5-$50

Brakes: $300-$500 for just the front or back

Misc. (like Heet and windshield wiper fluid): Varies!

Ice Scraper: $5-$20


Misc. Additions:

Remote Start: $200-$600

Upgraded Stereo: $100-$500

Wipers: $12-$16 each

It seems nowadays that if you look at a car the wrong way something goes wrong with it. At that you can’t help when things just happen, like my roommate driving over something that punctured his tire or my dad who had a rock chip his windshield while driving on the interstate. There are so many more costs that go into owning and maintaining a vehicle than gas money and I’m not sure if perpetual ride-bummers don’t know it or they don’t care. I understand if your vehicle is broken down or you’re going through something where you temporarily need transportation assistance, but when you live your life bumming rides off of people who work very hard to keep up with these added expenses your $5 (if anything) is kind of a slap in the face. I mean, if you split rent with someone you could be paying as much as you do for rent as you do your vehicle.

Not only is the limited funding a slap in the face, but so is when people start taking advantage of you. First it’s “can you give me a ride home after work/school/event?” Then it’s “can you swing by this place so I can grab food?” Then it’s “can you run me to the store so I can pick some stuff up?” And theeeen it’s “can you pick up my boyfriend, kid, mother, etc.” Not to sound crass, but -welcome to not having a vehicle! It’s a necessity that feels like a luxury at times. Or a luxury that feels like a necessity? Yes, I have a vehicle sitting outside of my townhouse right now because I value my time and don’t want to battle the weather. I could figure out bus schedules, ride my bike as much as my surrounding cities allow, Uber, or walk places, but that would limit me in what I can carry, how to dress, whether or not I might need to shower again (hot days or even cold sweats from the cold), and the added time to my day that I cannot/don’t want to lose for other things.

Believe me, I’m not against other means of transportation, but what I am bothered by is when someone relies so heavily on others because they don’t want to pay the extra that comes along with owning a vehicle. Well, I don’t want to either, but I am and now you’re capitalizing off of my doing so so you don’t have to! So when my vehicle breaks down I’m going to up the cost of bumming a ride, because I’m not sure why I should have to pay for all of the upkeep for someone else to not have to. “A ride home? Yea, that’ll be $50…maintenance fees.”

Leave a Reply