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Talking Transit with Taskforce Member Doug Hunt
"We're an automobile community"

Well, we do love our cars and we are very proud of South Bend’s contributions to the history of the automobile. We have a whole museum dedicated to Studebaker and we should!


The car may be a necessity, a luxury or a hobby…or in some cases all three. But as part of a typical household income the cost of the car is not a small expense. Please see the latest “AAA” report on “Your Driving Costs.” It shows that except for the ups and downs of gas costs and finance interest rates, the trend is up in all the other main categories, consisting of


  • Insurance

  • License, registration and taxes

  • Maintenance, Repair and Tires


And the cost per mile, if you don’t drive a lot – say only 10K per year – is 82 cents… again, that’s per mile!


Says AAA:


“If someone asked you what it costs to drive your car, the first thing that might come to mind is the price of your last fill up at the gas pump, followed closely by car payments and insurance bills. Those are definitely major expenses of vehicle ownership, but would it surprise you to learn you had overlooked the single biggest cost of all?

AAA has been tracking vehicle ownership costs for decades, and motorists are often surprised when they learn the full scope of the costs involved. In 2016, owning and operating an average sedan costs $8,558 per year, which is equal to $713 per month or 57 cents per mile. If these numbers shock you, then consider that they represent a six-year low and a 1.6 percent drop compared to 2015 – mainly because of lower gasoline prices."



And, according to Nerdwallet (

“The average monthly payment on a new car was $523 in the first quarter of 2018, according to credit reporting agency Experian. But that’s far from the true cost to own a car.

For vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year, average car ownership costs were $8,469 a year, or about $706 a month, in 2017, according to AAA. However, that doesn’t include the whole monthly payment, only the cost of interest on a car loan."


We all love cars, we are all proud of our automotive legacy in our cities: but maybe folks should have more options for their hard-earned dollars, like putting that average cost into a home or into a college fund. 


It’s all a matter of choices and we believe that the Modern Streetcar project for the ND/SB/Mish communities will help put those choices on the table for our citizens.

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