It’s been 2 full years since we sold our car. Last year, I shared our experience of how got rid of our car and cut our expenses. In this article, I’d like to share some actual dollar amounts over these past 2 years without a car.

Cut Expenses - Songthaews in Chiang Mai, Transportation

Taking a Songthaew in Chiang Mai – Transportation

First, I must say, we LOVE not owning a car now and do not miss having one. We drove 10,000 miles less than the average American car owner, so our mileage was lower than average, but we lived in San Francisco, so our expenses were higher than average. Annually, owning a car cost us $10,800 to drive 5k miles vs the average owner driving 15k miles in a similarly sized vehicle in the US.

How We Cut Expenses

We were able to dump our car, in part, thanks to car sharing services like Uber, Grab, Lyft, Zipcar + and also because we are willing to live smaller and stay close to urban city centers. Not to mention, the sharing economy also made it possible for us to travel to 12 countries in these past 2 years safely and conveniently. We don’t feel that common stress of trying to figure out a new cities public transportation immediately upon arriving in a new country. Travel is much easier on the family now that we can hire a car the first or second day and figure out public transportation when we’re acclimated and less fatigued. It is true that, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”.

Cut Expenses - Transportation in Bangkok, Thailand

Transportation in Bangkok, Thailand

Again, in 2014, we spent $10,800 in transportation. As can be seen in the breakdown of our transportation expenses below, we have spent much less money over the last 2 years. The information shows how we cut expenses and spent less over a 2 year period without an automobile. We use Mint to track our expenses and record and reconcile our expenses every 30 days.


4 people
San Francisco, March-December 2015
Transportation types: Bart, Metro, Uber, Lyft, bus, rental cars, borrowed car
$4,037 (includes $403 non-owners car insurance)


4 people
San Francisco and New York, Jan-Mar 2016; Asia, March-December 2016
Transportation types: Trains, Borrowed car, Tuk Tuk, Metro, Subway, Rickshaw, Trishaw, Uber, Taxi, Songthaews, Monorail

2017 (to March)

4 people
Asia, Jan-Mar 2017 | 1st Quarter
Transportation types: Train, Bus, Subway, Rickshaw, Uber, Taxi, Monorail
$411 ($1,600 projected for 2017)

I wonder how many people think about the true economics of car ownership. For years, the automotive companies have convinced us that car ownership is a right of passage. Car advertisers created a demand in the marketplace and supplied that demand when we bought into their marketing scheme.

As a final comparison, in the month February 2017, an expensive month for us, we spent $123.90 on transportation. Now, if you compare Feb 2017 to our former $900 /month costs when we owned a car and you understand the 776+ reasons we love no longer owning a car.

Are Cars the New Pager?

As shown above, car sharing companies like Uber, Grab, Airbnb, and others have allowed us to cut expenses easily by removing the need to make asset heavy purchases like automobiles. We, as participants in the sharing economy borrow time in other peoples cars or homes, when needed, and with no further obligation. We don’t have to worry about storage, maintenance, declines in asset values, and especially image. On top of all of those benefits, we’ve been able to lower our annual private transportation costs from $10,800 to $1,500 over the past two years. I’ve read that having a plastic water bottle is the new cigarette. Well, I think we’re well into time where the having a car is the new pager.

Would you be willing to car share or take public transportation to cut expenses by $7,000-10,000 less per year?

Sign in an comment below – what has been your experience?

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