COLUMBUS — Ride-hailing services are not a cost-effective replacement for vehicle ownership, according to a new AAA analysis. Relying on ride-hailing services as a primary mode of transportation would cost an urban driver an average of $20,118 annually. This equates 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.

“Whether you own a vehicle or not, ride-hailing services are a convenient transportation option,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director, Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, with the average American city dweller driving nearly 11,000 miles per year, a personal vehicle is still the more cost-effective choice.”

The Study

With the rising popularity of ride-hailing services, some living in urban settings question whether ride-hailing is a viable alternative to owning and operating a vehicle. To help answer this question, AAA analyzed the costs of ride-hailing services in 20 cities, and compared them with the cost of owning and operating a vehicle in an urban environment.

Vehicle Ownership Costs

Previous AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research found those that self-identify as living in a city drive an average of 10,841 miles annually.

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

Parking costs can add an average of $2,728 to those expenses, raising the total to $10,049 to own and operate a vehicle in the city.

Ride-Hailing Costs

Based on the average number of miles traveled by city dwellers, the cost to replace a personal vehicle with ride-hailing services, supplemented with a rental car for longer trips, is $20,118 per year. Costs for specific cities include:

“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,” continued Nielsen. “But, for everyone else, the car is still king.”

Vehicle owners looking to minimize their operating costs should consider the following:

Buy (gently) used – Depreciation is the single largest expense for vehicle owners. By driving a pre-owned vehicle in good condition, ownership costs are significantly lower. A safe, reliable vehicle can be found at an attractive price point.

Fuel responsibly – Avoid wasting money on premium gasoline unless your vehicle specifically requires it and, if you’re one of the 20 percent of Americans considering an electric car, these vehicles offer lower fuel and maintenance costs.

Show your car some love – It sounds counterintuitive, but spending money on routine maintenance can actually save you money in the end. To keep engines running longer, consider switching to synthetic oil and upgrading to TOP TIER™ gasoline.

Slow down – When gas prices are high, small changes in the way you drive can make a big difference.


By Kimberly Schwind

Special to the Star



Kimberly Schwind is the Senior Public Relations Manager of AAA Ohio Auto Club