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To Own or to Uber: That Is the Question

Which is a better deal for you?


This is part of "Live Large, Spend Less," a comprehensive guide to surviving (and even flourishing) in America's most expensive city. See all of the stories here.

Should you own a car in S.F.? Short answer: It depends. Longer answer: It depends on a frankly mind-boggling set of factors, including your neighborhood, temperament, family size, and tolerance for Muni-related personal space violations. That said, a little back-of-the-envelope arithmetic can go a long way in illuminating the true cost of car ownership. Here, we crunch the numbers based on several variables. all figures are per month and, of course, vary according to your habits, circumstances, and stamina for the N-Judah.

Cost to Own

$200: Approximate cost of registration, maintenance, and insurance.


$9.16: Cost of a residential parking permit.


$300: Approximate cost of a garage spot.


$17.34: Average amount a San Francisco spends on parking tickets, per SFMTA data.


___ x $0.13: Price of gas, where ___ = number of miles driven per month


___ x $10: Approximate cost of garage parking on nights out and weekends, where ___ = number of nights out per month.


____ Monthly Total


Cost to Wing It

___ x $99: Cost of a Zipcar for weekend trips and the like, where ___ = number of day trips


$68: Round-trip Muni fare for a month's worth of workdays


___ x $13.60: Approximate cost of using Uber to run errands and socialize, based on median city fares, where __ = number of trips per month.


___ Monthly total


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco

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