Car Ownership vs. Ridesharing

Ridesharing or owning a car. Transportation accounts for 17% of an average American’s spending.

This is inconsistent with what financial counselors typically recommend, which is to limit transportation costs to 15% of one’s income, max. And it’s only getting worse!

In 2016, the average monthly payment on a new car surpassed $500 per month for the first time in history. Additionally, the average length of a car loan was recorded at 68 months—the longest ever reported. It makes sense to look at your transportation options when planning for financial wellness.

There are major changes to the transportation sector already in motion, so how you choose to get from point A to point B could have a big impact on your financial wellness over the long-term. With the rise of ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft, many Americans are asking if it’s time to go car-free, and rely solely on car-sharing services. The ridesharing industry has not been shy about its ambitions to make car ownership a thing of the past. Lyft CEO John Zimmer said that he envisions a future where you subscribe to Lyft for a monthly fee, comparable to Netflix. So we decided to check out how these options are currently stacking up.

Is Owning a Car or Ridesharing the Best Choice?

When it comes to owning a car, it’s important to remember that the cost is more than just the monthly payment. It’s also gas, parking, repairs, oil changes, insurance, and tickets. So you may not have a firm picture of how much you spend on average per month. However, with an average Uber fare of $13.36 per ride and the average Lyft fare of $12.53 per ride, plus surge charges, things can add up quickly.

Between commuting, errands, entertainment, and weekend rides, the cost of ridesharing transportation can skyrocket. We crunched the numbers to compare the monthly cost of Uber and Lyft so you can make an informed decision:

• Uber Commuting (40 rides per month) $534.40

• Lyft Commuting (40 rides per month) $501.20

• Uber Errands and Entertainment (16 rides per month) $217.60 • Lyft Errands and Entertainment (16 rides per month) $200.48

• Uber Weekend Rides (16 rides per month) $217.60

• Lyft Weekend Rides (16 rides per month) $200.48

• Uber Total Monthly: $969.60

• Lyft Total Monthly: $902.16

*Totals based on national average cost per ride

Our verdict: Car ownership, even with all of the additional costs, is still more economical for most Americans than relying solely on Uber.

Thanks to our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness for providing this useful information.

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