The economics of driving to office

The economics of driving to office

Like most white-collared Mumbai residents, I clock about 50 – 60 office hours and 15 – 18 hours driving every week. My life revolves around my office, my house, and my Honda City. Actually, I spend more time in my car than at home. And personally, I feel that driving in Mumbai traffic is damaging my mind, body, and soul.

I have considered hiring a driver. But then again, it would cost me nothing less than Rs. 12,000 per month, and this person would be privy to all my conversations, who I meet,  where I go, what I do; basically, my entire routine. I think I would be more comfortable if I had a new diver every day, just like a taxi.

Taking a cab has this advantage, but the disadvantages outweigh it.

So, I’m back to driving my own car.

Now, let’s break down the cost of my everyday drive. Fuel comes up to approximately Rs. 7/Km. The lifespan of most cars is about 5 years and considering resale value, it works up to around Rs. 8 lakhs for that time. Even if I assume only 50% of that value is used towards my office commute, I would still be spending Rs. 4 lakhs every 5 years. My daily commute is 50 Km (two ways); multiply that by 200 working days a year for five years equals 50,000 Km. This equates to a whooping Rs. 8/Km only on the value of the car. Add Rs. 2/Km for maintenance, insurance, parts, etc. and I end up spending Rs. 17/Km on a self driven car. Add a driver’s cost and the price of your office commute jumps to a mind boggling Rs. 29/Km.

The salt in my wound is that my car is idle for 21 hours in day, i.e. almost 90% of time.

Seems like purchasing a car in Mumbai is one of the most wasteful expenses I’ve incurred.

Being a smart investor, feel the need to recoup my investment.

I could increase my car’s utilization rate by giving it on rent when I’m not using it. But how can I trust a stranger to treat my car the same way I do?

Is there any other way I can recoup the investment in my car? I am still waiting for the solution.

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