Car rates

Should you become a one-car family?

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When the world moved away, multi-car families across America suddenly owned more than one vehicle by choice, not necessity. While no one wants to part with the versatility and freedom that comes with a full garage, ditching all the associated expense could be a whole lot more freeing than the extra set of wheels.

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If you can, it might be time to make the switch to one-car family life — unnecessary vehicles, after all, cause unnecessary holes in budgets and savings accounts.

In a market like this, it becomes terribly difficult to justify not selling

Before you spend a single minute worrying about the inconveniences of sharing a car with the people in your household, think about how those people’s lives might change if that car turned into a huge pile of cash.

In February, ABC reported that the average used car now costs a record $28,000, a 40% increase over the previous year. But that’s only according to Carfax data. Edmunds says it’s closer to $30,000.

If you have an extra car in good condition, you’re the envy of one-car households across the country.

“It’s a good time to sell your car because the used car market is inflated, which means you’ll earn more,” said Kelan Kline, personal finance expert and co-founder of The Savvy Couple. “However, it’s only a good idea to sell a car if you don’t need it, perhaps because you’re working from home and no longer commuting every day.”

Many people aren’t so lucky, but if you are, your spare car is an uncashed lottery ticket. In an age when gently used models regularly sell for more than new, your weekend car can bring your family a bigger bargain now than at any time in the past.

Read more: The 29 Biggest Car Mistakes That Will Cost You

If it’s not electric, it’s expensive to drive

On March 7, GasBuddy reported that the national average for a gallon of gasoline had reached $4.104 per gallon. That was enough to top the existing record of $4,103, which was set in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession.

In short, gasoline prices are literally at an all-time high and diesel isn’t far behind, and prices don’t seem to be dropping any time soon. Furious price spikes — a near-record 16-cent single-day increase, in one instance — have sent gasoline prices soaring at near-unprecedented rates for months. Now, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the situation even more as the United States bans imports of Russian oil.

If your weekend car isn’t an electric vehicle, that means it runs on gas – and it’s hard to own anything that runs on gas.

Your spare car loses value every minute you wait

Despite today’s record gas prices, fuel still isn’t your car’s biggest drain on your wallet – and neither is maintenance. In 2021, the cost of owning a vehicle reached $9,666 per year, according to AAA. That’s $805.50 per month, and 40% of that tab can be attributed to depreciation – the largest category by far.

Used cars have never been worth more than they are now, but your golden ticket to the hottest used car market in history loses value every day you keep it. .

The average cost of maintenance approaches $800 per year, according to PolicyGenius, but even if you don’t drive your spare car much, you’re still spending money on it.

Insurance costs an average of $1,342 per year, according to AAA, plus an additional $669 for taxes and license and registration fees.

Discover: 30 cars with the highest resale value

Don’t think of it as public transit, think of it as a 5 figure side hustle

According to DollarSprout, less than one in six people earn $500 a month or more, which isn’t even enough to cover the average cost of owning a car over $800. But if you ditch your second car, you could add a five-figure upgrade to your lifestyle and savings account, which is better than you probably would in the gig economy.

According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the average American family saves $10,000 when they ditch their spare car in favor of public transportation – which also happens to be 10 times safer per mile – and that’s in addition to what you would reap from selling your car at today’s inflated prices.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was previously one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the nation’s largest newspaper syndicate, the Gannett News Service. He worked as a business editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as an editor for, a financial publication at the heart of New York’s Wall Street investment community. .