Ride-hailing services twice as costly as car ownership, latest AAA study finds

There’s no question that the costs of car ownership, from gas and parking costs to routine repairs and maintenance, can be drag. But ditching the car altogether may actually be more expensive.

An analysis from AAA this week revealed that while ride-hailing services including Uber and Lyft offer convenient and lower-cost transportation, they are not a viable long-term alternative to car ownership. In fact, ride-hailing in some areas of the United States is nearly twice as expensive as owning a car, the national study found.

“Whether you own a vehicle or not, ride-hailing services are a convenient transportation option,” said Lloyd Albert, senior vice president of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. “However, with the average American city-dweller driving nearly 11,000 miles per year, a personal vehicle is still the more cost-effective choice.”

For the study, AAA analyzed the costs of ride-hailing services, including the use of an occasional rental car, in 20 major urban areas.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average driver in an urban area, the only setting in which using these services are a practical full-time transportation option, drives 10,841 miles per year -- the costliest form of vehicle ownership for such annual mileage is estimated at $7,321.

Comparatively, ride-hailing costs more than $17,000 in the nation’s 20 most populated areas. Those in New York City spent an estimated $26,400 and ride-hailing in Boston was estimated to cost upwards of $27,500.

“For those who travel a very limited number of miles annually or have mobility issues that prevent them from driving a personal vehicle, ride-hailing can be a viable and important option,” Albert said.

Jason Vallee

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