Do I Need a Car?

If you’ve been reading my tweets, you probably saw that I managed to wreck my BMW 330i a few weeks back. It was a great car and sadly only lasted a little while (because of me) The engine ran perfectly, and after replacing a gasket (oil filter housing gasket) during thanksgiving, it had no leaks. But now, I’m re-evaluating the costs of owning a car. There are two options nowadays:

  • Own
  • Rent [ Zip Car]

A car is expensive. My recent calculations bring the costs of owning a very discounted (pre depreciated) (~$10,000) car at $400 / month over a period of 4 years. That’s not counting financing. You have $100/mo for comprehensive insurance w/ an average deductible; Maintenance (oil, tires, parts) costs $100/mo when you consider it annually; Then you have car washes, and misc; finally, you have the depreciation of the vehicle itself at ~$150/month/year; What if you add in your average gas bill too? What about the cost of life – you’re likelihood of being in a major accident is much greater when in a car.

My lifestyle is perfect for a zip car.

  • I ride Marta to and from work every day
  • When I had a car, I was driving it less than once a week. (I drove it twice in January before I had an accident at the end of the month)
  • I make it a point to live near where I play / eat.

ZIp Car, means that I have no depreciation, no gas expenses, and pay per the hour. If I’m already only driving 1 day and one weekend out of a month – then that would be about $200. The question is, will I treat that $400 as lost money, or as a switch to variable costs cut what I drive even more? ┬áTo phrase per my life, will I decide not to an event, the mountains, or visit friends / family when I would have with my car? Will I rent a car to go to the lake, when I’m only using it for 2 of 6 hours?

The X Factor. To confess. I’ve already decided that I will need to buy a car. The thrill of taking a car autocrossing or to a local track with friends (or even random people) is a luxury that I’m willing to part with money for. So, I’m looking for the perfect car once again, preferably aged 6+ years.