I did something pretty bold last week - I sold my daily driving car and plan to use Uber and Lyft to get everywhere I need to go. I've been toying with the idea of ride-sharing everywhere, but honestly, it's a little scary to think about. But after running an Uber vs. Owning A Car scenario over and over again, my wife and I decided it was worth it.
To frame the picture for you clearly, I work 5 days a week about 5 miles from my home. I don't always work at the same time - sometimes mornings, sometimes evenings. My wife and I have two kids - one of them is in school 2 days a week (and school is about 9 miles from home). We're still keeping my wife's SUV to get them around town.
That means there's one car for both of us to share. We'll cover the logistics of that below.
The biggest factor in moving to a one car household was cost. In fact, my city is one of the cheapest to Uber in according to Nerdwallet. Let me break it down for you..
Uber vs. Owning A Car
My car was over 10 years old when I sold it last week. I drove that car to 110,000 miles. Yes, it still had some life left in it, but it was becoming more and more expensive to own all the time.
I was starting to have to make larger and larger repairs, and in the next 6 months, I likely would have needed new tires and brakes (both big expenses). I sold my car for $5,600 - which is honestly higher than I expected to get for it.
Before making the leap, I actually had been trying out Uber daily to see how it would work for my morning and evening commutes. It gave me a great cost snapshot and allowed me to compare pretty accurately.
I will note, that I don't always take Uber both to work and home from work. During my trial week, I took Uber 9 times. I also took Uber to other destinations, like coffee. This is UberPool pricing as well. UberX pricing averages about 50% more per ride (about $12 versus the $8 below).
Here's how owning my own car compares to my new routine of Uber on a monthly basis.
Owning A Car
- Gas: $90
- Maintenance: $140
- Insurance: $50
- Registration/Smog: $12
Total Monthly Car Ownership Cost: $292
Taking Uber Everywhere
- Average Ride Cost: $8
- 9 Rides Per Week: $72
Total Monthly Uber Cost: $288
While both of these numbers can vary, I expect my car ownership cost to rise (either because of more repairs, or I'm simply going to have to purchase a new car). The tires and brakes alone this year would likely cost over $1,000, and that's barring any other issues.
My Uber costs could also rise, as I could take more trips, or Uber could simply change their pricing. I've also had several instances where UberPool wasn't available and I had to take UberX at the higher price.
One Month In Update: Now that I've been doing this for over a month solid, the savings and convenience really shines through. I actually only spent $120 on Uber last month, which was a huge savings versus driving.
What My Daily Routine Looks Like Now
Your first question might be, how do you work full-time, yet only Uber it 9 times per week. Well, my routine isn't the same everyday - even when I had my car.
My wife and kids would come meet me after work 1-2 times per week - maybe we would go to dinner, or go out with friends. Now, instead of meeting places and taking both cars, my wife would pick me up and we all go together.
Of my 9 trips, only 7 were work related. The other trip was going to meet a friend for coffee. Something I still will likely continue to do (maybe a happy hour, etc.). So, either before or after work 3 times per week, I get picked up or dropped off at work.
The Biggest Cons Of Going Car Free
The number one biggest con is simply logistics. Going to a one car family requires more coordination. If I need the car for some reason, it means my wife is likely trapped at home (and with one or both of the kids).
With that being said, it can be a challenge to get up, get going, get my one child to school, then drop the car back off, and Uber it home. Sometimes I just take the car to work and she gets help picking it up midday.
The bottom line is, logistics are challenging.
Waiting For A Ride
I've had a few instances where I've had to wait 15 to 20 minutes to get my ride. Luckily my job doesn't require me to be there at an exact time, but that could be a struggle for those who are considering it.
I've learned to wake up earlier, check my Uber app for availability, and request a ride early if I have to. Plus, it gives me an extra 20 minutes or so every morning to get my side hustle on!
The pricing is still the biggest con, because it's not cheap. At my current expense rate, it was break even (but it could be cheaper if I tried). However, the pricing changes, and sometimes there are no UberPool vehicles available in my area.
I continually have to check Uber and Lyft to see who is cheaper. In my area, Uber tends to always be $1-2 cheaper than Lyft.
Honestly, this is a big change. I don't live in an urban area - I live in a very suburban area. And the logistics are harder.
But honestly, the worst case scenario is that this just doesn't work out and I have to go out and buy a car again. Or, Uber and Lyft could go out of business (or be regulated out of town). As of today, that hasn't happened - and I don't think it will in the future, at least not the near future.
For now, the Uber vs. Owning a Car debate is in Uber's favor. Try out Uber in your area.