You've Got To Be Kidding Me! That's The Biggest Cost Facing U.S. Drivers? Who Knew?

According to an article by Kevin McCoy in U.S.A. Today, today, the average U.S driver finds parking (and related parking expenses) to be the largest single expense for vehicle owners.

Where have I been? I figure I spend almost nothing on parking. I don’t even consider it when thinking about driving / vehicle expenses.

How about you?
Are you below average as I am, average, or above average when it comes to parking and parking related expenses?
Do you spend $3,000 a year on that?
Is this study faulty or fairly accurate?

CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

I’d guess I’m around $100 per year ($25 for the small city where I live and $75 when we visit bigger cities).

I spend about $5-10 per week. And I live in a medium-big city. But I have resident on-street parking that is free.

Given that you can pay $300k for a parking spot, which is a mortgage payment of about $18k per year, I can see the $3k average.

I can see $3k average for those who respond to a survey, but not of all drivers.

Edit: so this is what they did:
"Roughly one-third of the total cost, or more than $3,000, was racked up by a combination of parking fees and fines, driving around looking for parking or paying for more parking time than necessary, the study found.

Some of the hardest hit were vehicle owners and other drivers in major urban centers, led by those in New York City, one of 30 cities in the U.S., United Kingdom and Germany that were examined by the study."

So they probably studied the 30 highest cost areas in THREE COUNTRIES, and came up with a total of ALL costs to support their app’s value. No surprise they came up with a high number!

I doubt if I pay $10 a year on parking. And I don’t spend a bunch of time wandering around and looking to get the closest spot to the door of the gym.

This survey looked at large cities. A whole lotta folks don’t live in large cities and pay nearly nothing for parking. I think the author has an agenda by writing this. I also think he lives in one of those large cities where parking is painful.

It just makes me laugh!

Parking in Boston starts at $5,000. If you get a job in Boston with free parking - that’s a huge bonus. Very few companies do it.

That’s nuts! I had no idea. If parking is at that much of a premium then the traffic must be pretty bad, too. I couldn’t do it.

CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

It’s bad. But it could be worse. You could have a job on Cape Cod- on the weekends…

Makes sense. Most drivers are in population centers by definition, and population centers often charge sky-high rates for parking. Some property owners in big cities often make more on the parking spaces surrounding their apartments than they do on the apartments themselves.

One lady in DC spent $111,000 buying three parking spaces below an apartment in DuPont Circle, and now makes $700/month after expenses including taxes and fees, which if you’re keeping score means she’ll make back what she paid in about 13 years, at which point those parking spaces are probably going to be worth a lot more than she paid for them.

Another guy in Brooklyn bought a space for $45,000 in 2005, and sold it 2 years ago for more than a quarter million. I wish my house’s value would go up like that just before I sold! :wink:

This appears to fall in a mean-versus-median statistic discussion. There are a significant chunk of people that have to pay quite a bit (like $10,000+) for parking, but the greater majority pay little. I wouldn’t be surprised if the average was indeed $3,000 but the median is like $200.

About the only time I have to pay is when I’m going to a game or concert or fair. I would consider this to be the same category expense as the tickets or admission, not really a car expense. Categorizing it this way, I probably pay next to $0 for parking annually. I’d hate to live in a place and have a job that would require me to drive every day.


If parking is your largest expense, you must be getting pretty reasonable insurance. I’m glad I don’t live in South Florida anymore.

My employer charges employees for a car parking pass, so I opted out this year, parking my motorcycle inside my department’s warehouse. The lady who processes the payroll deductions made a stink, but I won out. I figured if she tries to selectively enforce the parking regulations (there is very little enforcement on our campus), I’ll resort to riding my bicycle, which I’ve been doing this past week just because the weather has been so nice.

I’d guess I’m under $100 a year in my narrow little world. If I go to a ball game or concert or something in the big city it’ll cost $10-20 for parking, but my garage is free and we don’t have parking meters in town. When I worked I paid maybe $60 a month for garage parking and rates were going up to over $100 a month but I avoided that. Meetings would cost me maybe a couple bucks in quarters at the meters. I always carried a sandwich bag with quarters in for parking and its still half full.

Last estimate I heard, there are about 10,000 more cars in Boston then parking places.

Yes traffic is a nightmare. I have to drive into Boston for work every once in a while to meet some vendors or clients. My commute is as follows.

. First 20 miles takes me 25 minutes.
. Last 5 miles (I’m off the highway and driving through Boston) - takes me 15 minutes.
. The middle 5 miles takes me 45 minutes.

And that’s when there are no accidents and it’s a nice sunny day.

I try to schedule things so I can take the commuter rail out of Haverhill or Lawrence. Commute is much easier and consistent. But it actually is more expensive. And I have to make a couple transfers on the T.

The University where I taught charged me about $200 a year for a restricted lot across from the building where my office was located. My wife paid the same amount for a.reatricted lot next to her building. Now that we are both retired, we have free parking in lots on the periphery of campus. However, we pay about $150 a.year for special parking for football games that gets us close to the football stadium and basketball arena.

CSA, you have been in rural Michighan. The closest pay parking to may have been in Canada. I only pay for parking when I go to downtown Baltimore or D.C., or the airport. My daughter works and lives in downtown Baltimore and doesn’t pay for parking. My son in law (different daughter) works near the first daughter, and he does pay for parking. I don’t know the fee, but he says he pays a lot.

I checked out INRIX, the ones that did the “study”. They’re selling a parking ap!!!
USA Today clearly isn’t bothering the vet their sources, or it was a paid advertisement in USA Today. I suspect the latter.

I’ve been driving for over 1/2 century, and unless you live in a densely populated urban area over 100,000 in population it’s BS. The overwhelming majority of the country does not pay absorbent amounts for parking. In most of the places I’ve lived it’s free, and all of them have been free at home. Apartment buildings will often have assigned spaces, especially in North Dakota, where the spaces had electrical outlets with on/off switches in the apartments to run the engine heaters.


Yeah, I had offices around Minnesota and the only place parking was paid was the Twin Cities and Duluth. Otherwise free parking (except maybe meters downtown) was the rule.

Thats the problem with “studies”, someone is paying for them and the payer dictates the “findings”. Even “Government Studies” have this flaw.

But, there are a few places where a parking spot carries a high price tag. When I lived in Japan in the mid 70’s, a parking space in Tokyo cost about 10% more than your apartment and if you wanted to drive to work, you needed to rent two of them. Almost every Japanese family had a car by then, but they rarely used them to commute to work.

For a while there was an app in San Francisco you could download to your phone where you could sell your street parking spot when you were ready to leave. People were charging $10 to wait for the buyer to show up, then the seller pulls out. The city shut that down somehow.

There are more handicapped parking permits in San Francisco than there are parking spaces. That’s one reason why Uber and Lyft are so popular. If you’re coming to SF, take the BART from the airport downtown, then get a ride where you want to go.

Years ago I knew someone who got a job at a big law firm in Boston. He would park in a parking garage about three blocks from work, rather than the more expensive garage right next to his work building.

His firm found out and told him he had to park in the garage next door, and not three blocks away. It was because his time to walk those three blocks was worth more to the firm to “bill out” than the $10 he was saving himself in parking.