Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 12:20PM
I don’t even have a driver’s license so this is all academic for me, but even if I did have a license, I probably wouldn’t own a car.
For starters, I really like to drink. The real reason, though, is that I live right smack in the heart of the city and most of the places I want to go to—department stores, restaurants, bars, boutiques, parks--are within walking distance. When I do want to go someplace further, I use public transportation which is often much faster and less nerve-wracking than driving. And, several times a month, for convenience sake I hail a cab.
When people hear about this, they often say something to the effect of, “A taxi? Wow! You must be rolling in the dough!” Mind you, these are often people who own cars.
What I tell them, time and time again, is that for someone like me who lives in the city and works six days a week, taking a taxi every now and then is small change compared to the high cost of buying and maintaining a car. I never had proof to support this assertion until this morning when I read an article in Nikkan Gendai which claims that owning a car is “the ultimate waste of money”.
The article says that while having a car enables the owners to go wherever and whenever they like, in reality most “salarymen” are only weekend drivers.
When you think about it, nothing eats through money quite like an automobile. In spite of their claims that cars give them freedom and convenience, most drivers do little more with their cars than go shopping at big box retailers on the weekends. A few may take day trips, but for the most part, their cars just sit in the garage, guzzling resources.
For someone living in the suburbs of Tōkyō, the cost of maintaining a car comes to about ¥30,160 ($295) a month, or ¥380,000 ($3,712) a year. Keep in mind that this does not include the price of the car itself.
Parking: ¥15,000/month (in my neighborhood, parking is about ¥30,000/month)
Car tax: about ¥40,000/year
Vehicle inspection: about ¥100,000 every two years
If the owner of a car were to only drive five times a month, he would be spending the equivalent of ¥6,000 per use. Keiichi Kaya, author of the “The Rich Man’s Textbook” blog, writes, “Owners of cars shouldn’t expect to become even moderately wealthy.” The article goes on to say that even if a person were to use taxis and rental cars frequently, it would still be much cheaper than owning a car.
Still, I wouldn’t mind owning a Mini.