Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Cost Of Owning A Car In Vancouver

Have you ever added up how much your car really costs you?

Beyond the obvious, tangible expenses that show up in the mail such as your monthly financing bill, insurance and gas bills, there are many other ways that your vehicle is wreaking havoc on your pocketbook (not to mention the environment).

This website estimates that the cost of owning a car, in general, is $740.33 per month.

Let's break down the true cost of owning a car in Vancouver.

1. Gas - right now gas is hovering around $1.25/litre. The average Volkswagen Jetta gets about 40 miles/gallon (17.0057 km/L), so you are paying a dollar for every 13.6 km, and that's with a really fuel-efficient machine. Given that the average commute is 30 km each way, you are looking at almost $6/day in fuel alone, $120/month for the commute + $80/month for weekends and evenings.

Here's a useful website to find the cheapest gas in the city, btw: Vancouver gas prices.

Cost of gas/month: $200

2. Tolls - the Port Mann Bridge does more than just pummel vehicles with falling ice and create ten-car pileups at the first sign of snow, it also digs deep into those pockets as well. The toll each way is $3.00, or $6 per day, $120/month.

Cost of tolls per month: $120

3. Insurance - In BC, vehicle insurance is all handled through the public sector. ICBC is not cheap. Decent insurance will set you back $100/month.

Cost of insurance per month: $100

4. Parking - If you don't have your own parking space, it can be killer to drive to work every day. Downtown Vancouver is up to $8/hr in some spots. Parking without a pass in a lot can be $23/day. Hopefully you get a monthly pass. The median price of parking in Vancouver is $277.82 per month.

Cost of parking per month: $280

5. Repairs - No car is indestructible. Transmissions falter, brakes fail and once in a while you might even have to change the oil. Factor in some dosh for that over time.

Cost of repairs per month: $50

6. Tickets - Parking tickets, speeding tickets, seatbelt tickets, driving frustrated in the HOV lane with no one else in the car to avoid a major traffic jam tickets, they happen.

Cost of tickets per month: $25

7. Financing - Finally, the cost of the vehicle itself. We're assuming you have a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta by the way, because it's good on gas and it's affordable enough. Want something flashier? Crunch your own numbers.

Cost of a vehicle per month: $175

8. Time - your time is valuable. And it shouldn't be wasted sitting in traffic breathing in carbon monoxide while the world passes your by. Vancouver has one of the worst commutes in the world. The average commute time is a staggering 67 minutes. That works out to an incredible 32+ working days spent in traffic. That is a lot of time listening to bad radio ads.

Cost of time: Invaluable!

So based on my rough calculations, the Cost of Owning a Car in Vancouver is $950 per month + Time Wasted In Traffic

According to this interesting website the cost of commuting (just the commuting part) every day from Surrey to Vancouver is $521.34 per month. That's $6256.10 per year, just getting to and from work. When you calculate the loss of earning potential it works out to $13,760 a year! Factor in the effect that has on your mortgage. Are you really saving money living out in the suburbs? Think of how quickly that $200,000 savings will be gobbled up compared to living closer to the city centre. Think of your own time. Your time with your family. Not to mention the environment.

If you live at Evan - there is no reason to own a car.

You can bike to work downtown in less than ten minutes.
You can even skateboard, rollerblade, or walk in fifteen.
You can bus dowtown in ten minutes.
Buses 3 (Main-Downtown), 8 (Fraser-Downtown), 19 (Metrotown-Stanley Park), and stop at Main and 2nd every five minutes.

And if you need a Zipcar. There are three parked on Main and 6th. That will take you a whopping seven minutes to reach downtown.

Ah, the joys of car-free living. You can enjoy a cocktail guilt-free after work. You can spend more time on your hobbies, or watch that late night show. And even better, you can sleep in an extra half hour each day, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars and bits of ozone you'll save.


  1. Hello.
    Very informative post! Thank you !

    I'm interested in moving to Vancouver in the future (from Europe).

    I'm a car guy, i want a car only for long trips and i see it as a hobby, work on them etc, if i need to work in the city i will travel as you described above.

    My questions:
    If i own a car (an old cheap one, the ones i like, market value of like maximum ~4-5ooo $) what do i have to pay annually just because i own it in Vancouver/BC?

    - how often is the car inspections ? 1 or 2 years also for emmissions? How much $$ ?

    - inssurance - are there firms that offer like inssurance only for 6 months for example or maybe only for a month?

    - anything else to pay like i said, just because i own it and can drive it legally?

    Thank you for your time.

    Kind regards,

    Alexandru Nistor

  2. Thanks for your posts, I am looking forward for future posts.By Automobile maintenance records online

  3. hey can not ignore the said prop State Farm
    osal of the insured. Here the insured is also not at loss as he assumes that he had to bear depreciation part only.