To Own A Car

I've always loved driving (at least outside town, certainly not inside it). And stretched myself to pick the OHC in 2001 on a tiny salary.

9 years and 73k kms later, the car still serves me well. But purely from a financial pov, does it make sense to own a car, esp when you start with a new one ? The alternatives of using public transport/autos/taxis etc needs a little more planning-ahead, but thats not too bad a thing, and there's tons of options now.

Lets see - I paid 8.2L for the car in 2001. Today, I might get 1.8 at most. Thats an erosion of 6.4L - almost Rs.8.80 - per km! Of course fuel, on an average, at 11-12kmpl, has been at Rs.4.60. Insurance, maintenance, tyres, minor repairs etc would be another 2/- per km or so. That adds up to a cool Rs.15.40 per km!

In town : bus fares are 85/- for a Volvo day pass, autos are 8.50/- per km, even Meru cabs etc are 15/- Outstation Indicas cost 6.50 and even Innovas are under 12/-

Of course, it'll be different for diesels, and for higher usage. But most don't even keep a car for 9 years, and a Honda's wayy more reliable, and I've not included voluntary upgrade and other costs.

Financially, taking a cab makes a lot more sense anyday! In fact, you can pretty much do it off the capital needed upfront alone! Of course, the "fun-to-drive" sinks dramatically, and a little bit of the convenience - or at least the notion of it - reduces. But throw in a few go-karting trips, and you're still way better off :)


Prashanth M said...

Fun to drive --> self drive rental services is catching up fast in here now-a-days... so you wont miss the fun point too :)

Abhi said...

This is something I believe in and has been serving us pretty well. Somethings you missed out that I use to explain this in addition to the ones that you have listed out:
1. Time - We always taxi it to weddings, receptions etc where parking is almost always a problem. With a taxi that problem is erased and its the driver's head ache to find a slot to park himself for the time requested.
2. Driving pleasure takes a dive? - In the city, you must be kidding, with all the traffic snarls. I find it easier to let the driver do the business while the family and sit around and have a good talk. With none of us getting frustrated.
Out side the city, its true. But you have the option of self driving a hired car. May work out more, but its not a very regular feature.
3. EMIs based calculation - You have touched upon the costs, but if someone is getting it on an EMI, it increases even more.

Nice to see someone echo my sentiments. A used car on full down payment/ credit/ loan is the way to go if you really want one is what I feel.


Jayadeep(JDP) said...

A short stay in the US was that made me go after cars and wanting to drive around the country or at least drive up and down the western ghats. Only after the third car(a diesel one to drive more) did I realize the tar pit I was in. This is another case where America has set the wrong example and stupidly we are following suit with even the government spending a lot of money on highways!

Ramjee said...

Spot on. Most people don't make the arithmetic you made. Many don't understand the point even after seeing the numbers.

Now one thing you missed is the opportunity cost in time and health. spending so much of time on road.

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Mable said...

I think having your own car gives you a sense of independence, especially when there are people depending on you. I need to pick my two kids from day care, pick groceries, run errands and chauffeur around a lot for all types of things. Also I work flexible work hours, so office cab doesn't work for me. In the rains, the roads are so deeply slushy that the 500 km walk to the main road to get a bus would be quite a nightmare (Autos don't even come when it's raining). Plus I feel much safer driving alone than driving around in cabs with unknown drivers with my two girls. So the point is, a life without own transportation is not feasible for everyone. Add to it a sick or ailing person at home, or an infant.