As pre-retirement baby boomers, my wife and I own three vehicle: one for each of us for everyday use and an older SUV for towing. I don’t like the cost of maintaining and operating three vehicles. I envision the day when we will have only two and, when I fully retire, perhaps only one.
Understanding the true costs of vehicle ownership is not intuitive to many people. Fortunately, there are online resources to help. One such resource that I recently learned about is the Commute Solutions website that features a True Cost of Driving calculator. You plug in some basic information about your vehicle usage and the calculator estimates what your annual costs are.
My cost for my “go to work” vehicle is estimated to be $9,400 annually. I think that is high for two reasons. First, the calculator assumes that I drive in California. Second, a large percentage of vehicle ownership cost is depreciation. That factor can vary widely, depending on whether you purchase new or used vehicles and how long you own them Our “youngest” vehicle is a 1999 model so our current annual depreciation costs are relatively low.
However accurate these calculators are, it helps to stare the vehicle cost numbers in the face. That reality may cause you to carefully consider how many vehicles you can (or should) pay to operate and maintain when you retire.
Have any of you downsized to single vehicle status? What has that experience been like?