# Boston to New York: The True Cost of Driving

It is no secret that I love to drive. It may sound insane to many but I actually enjoy my 30-minute morning commute to work. For me it’s a privileged time when I’m alone, comfortable and can catch-up on podcasts and audio books. Anyhow this post isn’t about that, it’s about the true cost of road trips.

I have flown, taken the train, taken the bus and driven to New York many times. No surprise there: driving is my favorite because it’s the mode of transport that provides the most freedom. So what does it really cost to drive from Boston to New York and back?

# Depreciation #

Let’s assume you own an average German car that’s worth $25,000 and has 15,000 miles. It doesn’t matter what brand or what options it has. We know that when it reaches 30,000 miles it will be worth $20,000 (Edmunds). That’s essentially a depreciation of **30 cents per mile**. I know it’s not linear but let’s assume it is for this example because a trip to New York is short enough.

# Gas #

Such a German car will probably have an average highway gas mileage of around 30 miles per gallon. If gas costs $3 per gallon, then that’s a cost of **10 cents per mile**.

# Oil #

Let’s not forget cars need oil changes. For such a car, German Car Depot recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles. PepBoys charges $32 for an oil change. That’s a cost of about **0.6 cents per mile**.

# Tolls #

Getting into New York City costs $5.54 in tolls assuming you’re equipped with a free EZ-Pass transponder and you are coming from Boston, according to the MTA website. For a return trip, that would be **$11.08**.

# Tires #

Tires also depreciate. An average German car may come with Michelin tires that have a 50,000 mile warranty. Such tires will be worth around $250 each, or $1,000 for the whole set. If changed regularly, tires for your German car will cost you **0.02 cents per mile**.

# Brakes #

Brakes have a typical lifespan of 30,000 miles and will cost around $200 to replace for each wheel including labor (according to YourMechanic). That’s a cost of **2.6 cents per mile**.

# Parking #

Finally there is the cost of parking and potential parking tickets, which I will not count since it is so volatile and variable.

# Total Cost #

According to Google Maps, the road trip is 215 miles or 430 miles for the return trip.

The cost of the trip is:

```
30 cents / mile in car depreciation
10 cents / mile in gas
0.6 cents / mile in oil
2 cents / mile in tires
2.6 cents / mile in brakes
= 45.2 cents / mile
$0.452 * 430
+ $11.08 in tolls
= $205.44
```

And the total true cost of driving from Boston to New York and back is **$205.44**.

# Live Calculator #

I implemented a simple calculator in Javascript to do the math above, you can find it here: tlextrait.com/projects/roadtrip and on GitHub.