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17 Apr 18

Congestion and searching for a parking bay force up driving costs

The hidden costs of driving are exposed in a new report today that reveals how indirect expenses add hugely to the total cost of motoring.

Transport analyst and connected car specialist Inrix calculated the indirect costs of driving in 30 cities in Germany, the UK and USA.

These indirect costs include the time, fuel and value of carbon emissions generated by sitting in congestion; the time, fuel and value of carbon emissions generated by searching for a car parking space; the impact of overpaying for parking (for example, paying for two hours but only staying for 30 minutes); and parking fines.

Dr. Graham Cookson, chief economist, INRIX, said, “We call the latter ‘Parking Pain’ because drivers get nothing in return.”

The findings will provide more ammunition for drivers and employers looking to switch company cars for a mobility budget.

United States costs

In the United States, indirect costs amounted to $3,036 in 2017, representing about 30% of the total cost of driving (purchase or lease costs, depreciation, service and maintenance, insurance, fuel, parking charges and road tolls, plus local taxes).

Germany costs

In Germany, indirect costs of €3,037, accounted for an even higher percentage of €7,269 total driving costs, at 42%. Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich were the three most expensive cities for German motorists.

UK costs

And in the UK, indirect costs of £1,924 represented about one-third of the total cost of driving, £5,795. Overall, traffic- and parking-related costs equated to almost half (48%) of the total cost of driving in the U.K. London drivers suffer significantly higher annual total costs of driving than elsewhere in the UK (£9,430, compared to £6,007 for second-placed Birmingham), a reflection of the capital’s congestion and chronic shortage of parking spaces.

“On a per mile basis, UK drivers spent 35% more on driving than Americans and 6% more than Germans,” said Cookson.

Parking search drives up costs

He added that the true cost of driving was ‘staggering’, and said what had proved truly surprising was the size and breakdown of the hidden costs.

“Parking, for example, made up a third of the total cost of vehicle ownership. On average, drivers spent more than $3,000 a year on all parking-related costs,” said Cookson.

Smart, app-based parking solutions in connected cars and on mobile devices are starting to solve the problems associated with searching for a car parking space, saving both time and fuel, said Cookson.

Apps such as ParkMe, Parkopedia and INRIX Parking, for example, enable drivers to search for spaces based on cost, location and availability, and lets drivers reserve and pay for parking directly from their dashboard or device.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning