One of my favourite facebook groups, “Fuck, and I can’t stress this enough, them cars”, posts a lot of different things. Some memes, some laughter at bad driving, criticism of driver entitlement some news about traffic terrorists killing people, support for public transit, bicycles, and (as below) about the economic or environmental costs of cars, among other topics.
In response to someone else’s post about “car ownership” in the US, I did a little math about oversized crapwagons (SUVs, five ton pickups, etc.) and the costs of private vehicles versus public transit. According to Car and Driver, the numbers below are the average monthly costs of paying for and operating a vehicle in the US.
|Average new-car monthly payment:||$648|
|Average monthly premium insurance:||$112|
|Monthly average gas cost for 15,000 miles per year:||$270|
|Maintenance and repairs:||$119|
|Monthly registration, fees, taxes, and miscellaneous:||$12|
|Total monthly car cost||$1,161|
[Edit: Obviously I can’t do math either, or I’m inattentive and was just looking at the total.]
Notice that I said “paying and operating”, not “owning”, because many are paying for leases, have balloon or buyout payments that they will never afford. In reality, most of those driving SUVs, oversized pickups, etc., will never hold the title to that vehicle. And if they do, its book value will be next to worthless because of rising costs in the future.
According to Urban.org, the cost of efficient public transit for Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area would be $2.2 billion annually.
During his presidential campaign, president-elect Joe Biden prioritized transportation investment, particularly in the form of projects to mitigate US carbon emissions and increase access to opportunity for people of color.
In his transition plan, Biden aims to “provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options.” The US House of Representatives-passed Moving Forward Act promotes a similar ambition to significantly improve transit service across the country.
Improving transit quality in every urban area to, at minimum, conditions in the Dallas region would cost an additional $2.2 billion annually. This would be a 4.5 percent increase nationally in operating budgets but would expand per capita transit service by 30.3 percent for the average urban area.
National funding? You don’t even need that.
The DFW metropolitan area’s population was 7,637,387 in 2020. Assuming that only half of the population would use public transit (i.e. kids under 6 don’t pay, school kids pay half price, the very wealthy refuse to use it), and if every one of those half of the population paid an average of $50 per month (less than 1/20th
1/30th of operating a car) that would be $2,291,216,100 in revenue. That’s enough to fund that entire transit system without federal funding. At least two million people would no longer be driving, eliminating a massive amount of traffic, pollution, and danger to others.
Anyone who believes private cars are better than public transit is a distracted driver, i.e. too distracted by worrying about their next payment to look at how much they’re wasting. If people weren’t ignorant and brainwashed to believe the “cars = freedumb!” lie and really knew the costs of private vehicles, they would be raising hell.