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Driving Your Own Car Vs. Uber: What Is The Cheaper Option?

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At a time where ride-hailing apps like Uber and Grab exist to provide a safe, comfortable, and convenient means for moving around town, it is interesting to see a staggering rise in car purchases in recent years.

Data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) show that in 2016, the country’s automotive industry displayed a 24.6-percent year-on-year growth, with a 19.6-percent rise in December 2016 sales of passenger cars over December 2015 figures alone. This year, the car sector is expected to break its sales target of 370,000 units sold.

But is a car an asset or a liability?

There has been an extensive debate whether a vehicle is an asset or a liability. For personal use, it qualifies as a depreciating asset. It delivers convenience but comes with a number of expenses: gas allowance, maintenance, tax, monthly payment, car insurance, parts replacement, as well as emergency funds in case of an accident.

A car depreciates in value by at least 30% the moment it leaves the showroom, and further down once it gets driven, nicked, scratched, and bumped. From a financial standpoint, a car therefore is only an investment when the owner generates income from it, such as utilization in a business operation.

So taking mass transportation out of the picture, what is the more economical option to go to work on a daily basis: Using Uber or driving a personal car? Let’s compare.

Uber users

Name

Doni, 31, freelancer

RJ, 24, full-time employee

Daily route

Makati to Makati

Makati to Las Piñas

Distance

1.8 km

24.9 km

Daily expense

P70 to P100

P560

Total monthly expenses

P1,400

P11,200

Total annual expenses

P16,800

P134,400

This is how Uber calculates a user’s fare, according to their website:

Customer’s fare =

((Base fare+ Time rate + Distance rate) * Surge multiplier)) – Uber fee + Toll

  • Base fare: the price for pickup/flag down rate
  • Time: from start to end of trip
  • Distance: total miles or kilometers of route
  • Surge pricing (if applicable)
  • Tolls (if applicable)

Car owners

Name

Weng, 28, freelancer

Ben, 35, full-time employee

Route

QC to different parts of Metro Manila

QC to Makati

Distance traveled per day

28.26km, total average

36km two-way

Vehicle used

Ford Ecosport 2015 Trend gas

Honda Civic 1.8 2012 gas

Fuel consumption

15.6km/L

9km/L

Frequency of use

Thrice a week

four times a week

Consumption (L) per trip

1.81

4

Equivalent in pesos*

P83.6

P184.6

Total weekly consumption

P250.81

P738.4

Total monthly consumption

P1,003.23

P2,954

Parking expenses

P1,320

P1,760

Car insurance cost

P15,000 per annum

P14,000 pa

Total annual expenses

P42,878.76

P70,568

*Based on a P46.15/liter price

**Note that the data shown above are strictly limited to the subjects’ business and professional use.

Miscellaneous expenses

Basic car wash: P100 to P200, depending on the size of the car

Registration (brand new/renewal): P400 to P1,000, depending on vehicle category

Monthly amortization, if loaned from the bank: From P5,000 (eg., Hyundai Eon, for five years) upwards

Personal car

Uber

Pros

Easy mobility; unlimited stops; change route/destinations anytime; privacy; load personal items; control your time

Stress-free navigation, relax and multitask as a passenger, save time and money on parking

Cons

Stress and exhaustion from driving especially during peak hours; gas and parking allowance; maintenance and miscellaneous expenses

Surge pricing during peak hours; time and availability of driver

Conclusion

The more convenient and value-for-money option still depends on the user, their needs, and their lifestyle. In this case, freelancers who move from one destination to another at different times of the day may find it more expensive to take Uber, but save time and money on parking. However, the case is different for freelancers who have to lug around heavy equipment.

For full-time employees, driving one’s own car sounds like the better option given their vehicle’s fuel efficiency and distance traveled. But there are corresponding expenses, especially for vehicles bought through a car loan.

Which mode of transportation do you prefer? Share your experiences in the comments.

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