Friday, January 19, 2007

The Real Reason You're Broke....

Bus Chick has found an article that talks about what American's seem to do best...spend money and burn oil. None of my friends seem to be complaining about the cost of a car, probably because like me they drive it once a week. Although my roommate thinks that BART is way too expensive if you're going with two other people to the east bay. But it seems that the problem is not with carpooling but rather single occupancy vehicles, more specifically their costs. Why are we trying to subsidize housing so much when people are just gonna blow that extra money on their auto...

Americans are spending more on their vehicles than ever before -- more than $8,000 a year on average -- and it's driving some to the breaking point. Credit counselor Bill Thompson of Jacksonville, Fla., estimates that one out of every four clients his agency sees has overspent -- sometimes dramatically -- on a car. "They may be spending 15% to 20% of their (take-home) pay on just the car payment," said Thompson, who supervises credit counseling for the nonprofit Family Foundations, "and that doesn't include insurance, gas, maintenance and all the other costs of owning a vehicle."

Quite Amazing, perhaps transit is a part of the affordability solution. To take a look at how to address this issue through transit, check out the Affordability Index.

4 comments:

M1EK said...

One of my hot buttons which doesn't have anything to do with Cap Metro in particular.

Look, in 99% of cities in this country, even if you ride the bus to work, you still need a car for everything else - and the amount of your car spending which is truly variable (per-mile) is negligible compared to the part which is fixed. You only really save money if you can drop a car completely; otherwise, transit isn't going to save you enough money to be worth the time investment unless you're one of the vanishingly small group who has to pay a lot to park your car.

More here:

http://mdahmus.monkeysystems.com/blog/archives/000207.html

and here:

http://mdahmus.monkeysystems.com/blog/archives/000029.html

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Right but for families who can get rid of a car that is a tremendous savings. I think this country is way to built up towards the automobile to rid yourself of a car completely in most cities sans SF and NYC. Even SF is dicey. But if families can use transit and live in a location efficient neighborhood and get rid of one of three or one of two cars then they can save a lot of money. It's much harder for singles for sure.

Mike said...

Yes, but for a family, there's only a couple of cities beyond SF and NY where you can even consider living with just one car. Austin, with exceptions like me and Dave Sullivan, just isn't one of those cities. (Even though my wife stays at home, if I wasn't working at home, we'd need two cars, despite me being a transit-lover).

Too much employment still in the car-dependent suburbs. (I tried for over a year to find a good job downtown - taking this one in the process; until the reserved-guideway transit is there, nobody but bankers and lawyers will move their company downtown).

njh said...

We have lived in northern colorado and SJ without a car without any problems. When you _need_ a car (going for a drive in the rockies or picking up a pedal organ) you can go to enterprise. They have great deals on weekends. And you can tailor the car to the need (recent nissan centra and suburban resp).

I think you americans are just slackers and whiners ;). About half the people we've talked to claim what we do is impossible. They are often overweight/obese. It's not hard. Really.