AAA Says Ride-Hailing Twice The Cost Of Car Ownership

New analysis from AAA shows that ride-hailing services are not a cost-effective replacement for vehicle ownership.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average driver in an urban area — the only setting in which using these services would arguably be a practical full-time transportation option — drives 10,841 miles per year. While urban drivers travel fewer miles than those living in smaller towns or rural areas, relying on ride-hailing services as a primary mode of transportation would cost $20,118 annually.

This works out to more than twice the cost of owning a personal vehicle — even when factoring in the expense of fuel, insurance, parking and the vehicle itself.

For its study, AAA analyzed the costs of ride-hailing services (including the use of an occasional rental car) in 20 major urban areas. Based on the average number of miles traveled by city-dwellers, annual ride-hailing costs are as follows …
• Atlanta — $17,741
• Austin — $19,821
• Baltimore — $19,917
• Boston — $27,545
• Chicago — $22,020
• Cleveland — $20,091
• Dallas — $16,944
• Denver — $20,434
• Los Angeles — $17,951
• Miami — $17,339
• Nashville — $26,397
• New York — $21,279
• Philadelphia — $23,201
• Phoenix — $17,436
• Pittsburgh — $18,940
• Salt Lake City — $18,866
• San Diego — $17,316
• San Francisco — $21,972
• Seattle — $23,951
• Washington, DC — $21,093

According to data from AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study, the average annual cost to own and operate a new vehicle —  the costliest form of vehicle ownership — is $7,321 for 10,841 miles of travel annually.

Understanding that parking costs can be a major ownership expense for those living in urban areas, the motor club also analyzed the costs of flat-rate parking per year, which ranges from $706 in Phoenix to $8,088 in New York, with an average cost of $2,728.

For those with access to free parking, relying on ride-hailing services is nearly three times more expensive than vehicle ownership in these cities.

“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,” said John Nielsen, managing director of automotive engineering and repair for AAA. “But, for everyone else, the car is still king.”

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