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Your car may be the key to your freedom and independence. No more bus schedules, cab fares, or hitching rides from friends and family. But what is the true cost of this convenience? It may be hard to measure the intrinsic value of owning a car, but it's important to consider the overall cost of your vehicle.

First, there's annual ownership cost:

  • Annual cost, assuming a loss due to depreciation, wear and tear, etc. over 6 years (the amount of time we'll assume you'll own this car). To figure annual cost, take the purchase price x 68% divided by 6 years

  • Insurance

  • Maintenance

  • License, registration

  • Finance charges

Next, there's annual operating cost:

  • Mileage

  • Gas and Oil

  • Parking

  • Tolls

Add ownership cost and operating cost to get the total cost per year for owning a car. Compare this to the number and cost of bus or cab rides to determine whether it's worth it to you.