To have a car, or not to have a car: that is the question. Classes have just begun, and you may be asking yourself if having a car will make life easier. For most of your peers, having a car on campus would be a dream come true, but there are a few disadvantages they may not have considered. But you want to be more knowledgeable and confident in knowing if having one on campus is right for you.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of car ownership to help you make a more informed decision.
Freedom to Explore
The college years are the perfect time for exploration. Discovering new places will be less challenging if you have your own set of wheels. If you want to go on a road trip with friends, the public transit system won’t get you there. However, having a car will give you the independence to discover new places on your own terms.
Asking friends for a ride, waiting at the bus stop, or walking long distances on foot can get tiresome. With your own car, you’ll be able to go wherever you want without the need to cater to anyone else’s schedule. You’ll spend less time scrounging for a ride and more time focusing on the things that really matter, like reading your textbooks.
Most colleges offer work-study programs to help students cover tuition costs, but funding isn’t always available. Government funding restrictions leave hundreds of students looking for work off campus each year. If you own a car, the number of job opportunities available to you significantly increases. You’ll be more competitive and attractive to potential employers if you have reliable transportation.
In 2014, Bankrate reported the average annual cost of owning a motor vehicle to be $2,300. The study results included costs for gasoline, insurance, and repairs. Expenses not included in the study were registration, taxes, and loan payments. As a college student, you’ll also need to pay parking fees to keep your car on campus. When factoring in the total costs, you could be responsible for over $5,000 worth of expenses each year.
Before purchasing a car on your own, talk with your parents. Discussing the financial details in advance could save you thousands of dollars down the line.
Friends Asking for Rides
Chauffeuring your friends around town could double your vehicle expenses. Acting as a volunteer taxi service for your friends isn’t smart for your sanity or your wallet. Before you know it, you’ll be shelling out much more money to cover the cost of gas and maintenance on your vehicle. Also, the constant distractions by your friends could negatively affect your productivity at school.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers have crash rates three times those of drivers 20 and older per mile driven. If you happen to have a fender bender at college, your insurance premium may increase. Furthermore, the mental stress of having a car accident could derail your ability to focus on your studies.
When you consider the costs and risks of having a car on campus, maybe a bus pass doesn’t sound too shabby after all.