Cars save you time when you want to go some place. Cars are also expensive to operate. So how much are you paying for that time you get? It looks like about $10 an hour.
A couple of notes:
- If you spend a lot of time on the freeway you may think your average speed is higher, but if you look at all the time you spend stopped at traffic lights, crawling around downtown looking for a parking space or stuck in traffic, 30 MPH might be optimistic.
- You might be able to ride a bike 12,000 miles a year, but if you were also holding down a full time job, that would be about all you would do. You might be super fit, and you might be happy, but what's that compared to having a life?
- I picked a bicycle as an alternate means of transportation because bicycles can physically go the same places cars can go. Public transportation is kind of hit and miss. Jet packs are, well, let's just say they have a number of issues.
- Attempting to operate a bicycle in areas were cars predominate can be dangerous.
- You might be able to walk 12,000 miles per year, but I don't think you'd be able to hold down a full time job, unless you were somehow getting paid to walk. Or you didn't need to sleep. Or you could sleep while walking.
$500 a month for a car might seem high, but if you allocate that much money every month, you should be able to maintain a positive balance on your transportation bill, and if something bad happens, which it inevitably will, you'll appreciate having that cushion.
Your fuel bill is the least of your worries when it comes to paying for a car. Insurance, depreciation and/or repairs cost as much or more. New cars generally don't need as many repairs, but they do depreciate faster. Interest is probably still a big expense for most people, though it shouldn't be. Credit card companies are practically begging people to take their money interest free. Of course, they are probably hoping you will screw up the deal and have to start paying their userous rates.