Should you ditch your personal car to save money?

15 Dec 2020

personal car vs bolt

Which will save you more money in the long run – using a personal car for your commute and weekend trips or switching to ride-hailing mixed with public transport and car rental? We did the math.

The cost of owning a personal car

It’s no news that a personal car comes with regular costs. But how big are they exactly? We took Toyota Corolla as an example to make the following calculations. Please keep in mind that depending on the car model, fuel consumption and other costs may vary.

On average, in Johannesburg, you may spend around R3,500 on leasing, R12,700 on yearly repairs and maintenance, insurance takes more out of your pocket and as your vehicle is parked 95% of the time, you’ll need to invest more money on parking fees. Not to mention the amount of money that goes into the fuel tank and on keeping your steel horse clean.

Another thing we need to take into account to understand if keeping a personal car is financially feasible is the average car usage. For that, we created a coefficient that goes from 1 to 3:

  • 1 = the person uses their car on every second day in a month for 2 back and forth trips;
  • 1.5 = the person who uses their car 4-5 days a week and makes 2 back and forth trips on each day;
  • 2 = the person uses a car every day for 2 back and forth trips;
  • 2.5 = the person uses a car every day. They make 1 trip to a certain location (e.g. 1 trip to work), then drive to a nearby location (0.5 trips as half the distance) and then take a trip back home (1 trip);
  • 3 = the person uses a car every day and moves around quite a lot. They drive 3 times the average Bolt ride distance in a day (for Johannesburg it’s 17.4km), usually travelling around 20-25 km per day.

In Johannesburg, this coefficient for an average person is 2.0.

Summing it all up, it equates to about R6,161 spent on your car on a monthly basis. Or R73,932 annually.

But what if you switched to on-demand transport? Would you actually save money?

The monthly cost of on-demand transport

In Johannesburg, the average monthly public transport cost per person is R6,161. But you’d probably like to get out of town from time-to-time, wouldn’t you? For these occasions, you’d have to get a long-route public transport ticket for R6,161 or rent a car. Based on a short scrolling session on multiple car rental websites, the average price for one rental trip is around R6,161. It still amounts to far lower spend compared to the car costs described above.

Let’s add some extra convenience and introduce ride-hailing into the equation. We all need a car ride from time to time, right?

An average trip in Johannesburg with Bolt is 5.8 km long and costs R58.

Taking into account the costs of different modes of transportation used for getting from A to B, daily distance, the money spent on car ownership and the price of travelling one kilometre, we estimate that an average person in Johannesburg could save up to 29% on transportation costs by ditching their personal car and, for example, opting for on-demand transport instead. Switching from ride-hailing to micromobility would increase the saved amount even more.

That means you could save up to R1,813 on a monthly basis by giving up your car. That’s R21,756 a year.

Time for New Year resolutions

2021 is already knocking on our doors and that means it’s time for some New Year’s resolutions.

How does “This year I’ll spend 29% less on transportation and save that money for add the thing you’ve really-really wanted for a long time here” sound? Considering the unknown ahead, having to worry less about monthly expenses doesn’t seem too bad either. Or, if you’re not into the money talk, perhaps a change towards a more eco-friendly way of life would inspire you.

Ride smart, ride with Bolt.

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