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Car ownership would cost more, methinks

Today I spent a considerable amount of time doing certain tasks I loathe. First, calling up a Large Cell-o-Phone Conglomerate (okay, maybe not a conglomerate) to switch over to a carrier that actually provides service in my area. I talked to four different people over the course of a 40-minute phone call, and while they managed to activate my SIM card, that was about all. At the end of the call I eventually found the correct buttons on their website to set up online login information for myself, but for some reason or another no one could tell me my account number, despite apparently establishing one for me during the call (the online site shows me that it has four final digits). It must be really hard to work in customer service for that company.

This evening, I reserved a rental car for the 600k brevet starting in Falls City over Memorial Day weekend. Rental cars seem annoyingly expensive when one does not own a car or usually pay for car insurance. How much do you car owners spend each month on your gasoline-powered wheelchairs, anyway, between gas, insurance, maintenance, and cost of car? I am hoping you can spout off numbers that will make me feel marginally better about these ridiculously extravagant (not really) rentals.

In other Things I Am Not Looking Forward To, it is time to look at plane fares for the Seattle-to-Portland and for Paris-Brest-Paris. PBP is more complicated, because it requires that I answer the questions of, where would I like to go, and when would I like to be there? With hauling a bicycle along, I'm wondering if it makes sense to try and take Amtrak to Chicago, and then fly to London from there, instead of flying out of the wee Lincoln airport, where oversize luggage might be a bigger issue. We shall see.



( 20 remarks — Remark )
Apr. 29th, 2015 03:04 am (UTC)
I'm really cheap, but, per year:
Yearly registration $100
Tires (amortized over 2 1/2 year lifespan) $120
Gasoline: $1250
Insurance $300-ish?
Oil filters, oil, washer fluid, general upkeep: $50
Stuff going wrong and having to be fixed: $400
Apr. 29th, 2015 03:21 am (UTC)
Holy crap your car insurance is cheap. You must be a far more respectable citizen than I am. [grin]
Apr. 29th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
I may be wrong on that one.
I'm old, which helps.
I'm male, which doesn't, nor does my ticket record. (One speeding ticket per two years on average for the indefinite past.)
Apr. 29th, 2015 12:49 pm (UTC)
Insurance costs can also vary widely by state, affected by things like the number of uninsured drivers and such. From what I understand, Arizona was something of a nightmare because there are a LOT of uninsured drivers there, plus I think the accident rates are fairly high.

These numbers are making me think I might have been better off getting my own car insurance in the short-term! But then again, that has to be offset by the hassle involved.
Apr. 29th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC)
About one every four or five for me, I've slowed down I drive way less than I used to. Seattle's way more bike friendly, my friends are far closer to me than they were on the East Coast (so socializing default-doesn't-involve-driving), and also I work from home.
Apr. 30th, 2015 05:20 pm (UTC)
And, see, when a person grows up in the middle of a city where she doesn't need to drive, she doesn't get her license until she's 22 and about to move to a car-oriented state (Arizona). Ever since moving away I've missed the convenience of public transportation in Seattle. Boston was pretty good, too. And actually, Lincoln is geographically small enough that the bike has been a great option, plus Lincoln actually has things like a train station.
May. 1st, 2015 02:05 am (UTC)
Yeah, some of my NYC friends were similar, and I was so extremely baffled by that when I encountered it for the first time. Growing up in the sticks, there was no not driving.

I feel a little bad that I have bicycled so much less recently... I think that's a combination of having guests and therefore needing to transport several folks, Mayhem having finished his contract and therefore ready availability of car + someone else who default wants to go places with me, and learning to motorcycle. I will have to sketch in some bike time.
Apr. 29th, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC)
randomdreams doesn't pay the car insurance! I do! He has no idea.
It's $182 a month for 3 cars. The spitfire is $10, his car is like $60 a month. Mine is the rest (I have full coverage).

The loan on my Subaru is $500 a month. $60ish in gas. Oil every 6 months is $100.
Apr. 29th, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC)
Heh. It's $477 per six months for the two of us on my Subaru. Then, separately, it's $529 annually for our motorcycles, of which $106 is me and my BMW (I am a respectable citizen with a very polite sewing machine!) and $423 is him and his Speed Triple (that hooligan!). [giggling]
Apr. 30th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, this really cracked me up. And phew, Subarus are expensive, but I know they're worthwhile altogether. I suppose you hear about a lot of this stuff much more frequently than I do, given your father's occupation. :-P
Apr. 29th, 2015 03:20 am (UTC)
I'd say $60 in gas a month... we don't drive much with Mayhem not working. I drive for Search and Rescue, and once every two weeks or so to swords. $80 in insurance a month, for two drivers. Maybe $20 in maintenance. Cost of car... what period are you estimating? It was $12k when I bought it.

If you have the time when you're in Seattle and I'm also in town, I would love to get tea or something.
Apr. 29th, 2015 12:53 pm (UTC)
The cost of car part would be a tricky one to estimate, because it has to be balanced against the time you own it, I suppose. Periodically I see estimates for how much it costs to own a car, but those seem to be higher than what you or randomdreams are estimating.

And YES, we are overdue for an in-person visit in Seattle! The Seattle-to-Portland itself is July 11/12, and at the moment I am looking at arriving the prior Thursday (9th), potentially returning to NE on the subsequent Tuesday (14th). So hopefully there will be some time in the middle of things. Eventually we'll overlap! I will probably come up again for Thanksgiving, or in December. Thinking about it - December's slightly more likely, due to conferences.
Apr. 29th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
Maybe those people in the estimates have nicer or newer cars? Mine's over a decade old. (2004 Subaru Forester.) So, $250 or so a month, for cost-of-car by your metric for the time I have owned it so far?

The 11th/12th is the local triathlon weekend too, out in Ocean Shores. So it looks like we'll both be busy over the weekend, but before or after would be fine. (If we end up meeting up afterwards, we can sit tiredly on a bench and eat ALL THE FOOD together, haha.) December works too; I'm flexible!
Apr. 30th, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC)
I think part of the assumption that goes into the calculation of vehicle costs is that a person will get a new car about once every X years, so having an older car puts you outside of the norm (but is a great thing if it's still running well!).

And Hazaah to plans for eating! :-D
Apr. 29th, 2015 02:31 pm (UTC)
It would be incredibly difficult for me to do my work, which involves considerable travel for science outreach, and transport my two small children without a car. It's not a gasoline powered wheelchair for me.

The car's paid off. I spend about $250 a month on total car-related expenditures- with repairs and registration and all averaged over the year.
Apr. 30th, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you for humoring me and my warped perspective on how transportation should work. :-P And for being willing to share your perspective on vehicle costs. Certainly not a trivial expense!

For science outreach - I started thinking, I hope that you are reimbursed accordingly, for the use of your personal vehicle. My fieldwork in Arizona would have been impossible without access to a truck, and to some extent I do see it as a luxury to be able to live without a car.
Apr. 29th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
Car Expenses
Some new car leases require little down, low monthly payments and include maintenance service for life of 2 or 3 year lease. Mileage penalty over $12k per year. Upside also is that there's really no out of pocket for repairs, etc. as factory warranty covers that as well. Over the long haul, owning makes more sense for many but the right lease can be attractive as your costs are all budgeted up front.
Apr. 30th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Car Expenses
True! Now this makes me wonder about the proportion of people who lease instead of owning. I suppose some sort of short-term lease agreement might be more convenient than day-to-day rentals for some of the car travel that I do. That said...I mostly just try to avoid having to deal with the whole matter!
Apr. 30th, 2015 04:54 pm (UTC)
Let me know if you need a place to stay after the S-to-P.
Apr. 30th, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! We have a sizeable contingent lined up, so I believe the plan is to camp out in a relative's yard that Sunday night (myself, my dad, my brother, my sister, best friend & her husband, possibly others...). That said, it would be really great to see you and T during our brief stopover. But I don't know how it will all shake out.

Another academic society is holding its annual meeting in Portland in January, so no matter what we'll get to catch up sooner or later! :-)
( 20 remarks — Remark )

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