The True Cost of Owning a Car in NYC

Are you thinking about buying a car in NYC? Well, think twice, really. Indeed, public transportation isn’t always sufficient and having a car certainly will give you more flexibility, but it also adds a significant amount of headache. New York City is one of the priciest places to own a vehicle in the US, mainly due to the parking and car insurance costs.

Owning an average car in NYC would cost you about $1,057 per month or $12,684 a year when considering insurance, car loan, gas, depreciation, maintenance, parking, etc.

Driving a car in NYC isn’t cheap. Expensive car insurance and parking can beat your wallet hard. Cost estimation before you buy your vehicle is crucial. You might don’t even know what you have to pay for when owning a car in New York. This article breaks down annual and monthly expenses for having a car in NYC, whether you finance it or buy it with cash.

How much does it cost to own a car in NYC?

Car ownership is slightly more expensive than average in NYC, mainly because of the high insurance, parking, and gas tax. Overall, you can expect to pay around $1,000 per month or $12,000 a year, including your car loan and garage.

The cost of car ownership depends on where you are in New York and the car you drive. You will generally have the same expenses as any other car owner, except the numbers are higher – insurance, parking, gas, oil changes, etc.

When eliminating parking and financing expenses, owning an average car in NYC costs about $353 per month or $4,236 a year.

At the same time, the average annual cost of owning a new car has climbed to $9,282, or $773.50 a month across the US. That’s an increase of $433 – or nearly 5% from last year.

According to the statistics, it costs roughly $5,264 every year to own a car in the US. This includes the average costs for car payments, gas, car insurance, and replacement parts across every state in the country.

You can manage your expenses by choosing what kind of car you buy and how you pay for it. The final number will vary depending on the car type/model, insurance, parking fees, etc.

Nonetheless, owning a car involves recurring expenses that all car drivers face. New York is one of the most expensive places in the world; hence, having a car won’t be a cheap delight either.

The main costs of car ownership in NYC include car purchase, repairs, maintenance, depreciation, insurance, taxes, and fuel. Some of these expenses are variable and associated with the mileage, while others, such as tax and insurance, are fixed costs. Don’t forget about lost interest on savings if you purchase it with cash.

According to the research made by Move.org, the average cost of owning a car in the New York is $4,826 per year or $402 per month, where expenses were as follows:

Item (New York)Cost
Average gas price per gallon$4.28
Miles driven per driver11,871
Annual fuel cost per driver$1,326
Minimum yearly car insurance costs$1,373
Annual cost for cars and parts (purchasing price)$2,100
Registration and title fees$27
Source: Move.org

This number, however, doesn’t include parking costs.

Cheapest cars to own in NYC

Your monthly expenses in NYC are directly correlated with the car you have. Smaller, fuel-efficient cars are particularly affordable in terms of gas, insurance, and operational costs. Studies have shown that owners of small sedans enjoy the lowest average annual expenses at $7,114. Hybrid cars were second at $7,736.

Some of the most expensive car types to operate are pickup trucks, with average annual ownership costs of $10,839. Large sedans were slightly cheaper at $10,403.

Type of a new carAverage annual cost to own
Small Sedan$7,114
Hybrid$7,736
Electric$8,320
Small SUV$8,394
Medium Sedan$8,643
Minivan$10,036
Medium SUV$10,265
Large Sedan$10,403
Pickup$10,839
Source: aaa.com

Cost of car ownership in NYC

Here are the main operating and maintenance costs all car drivers will have to consider:

  • Fuel costs, car insurance costs, inspections, car wash, car care, repairs, tyre changes, taxes

On average, a car needs to be repaired every 10,000 – 15,000 miles. In the table, you can see all costs of owning a car in New York City broken down by month:

Item (NYC)Monthly cost
Car payment $400
Gas$110
Parking$300
Car insurance$120
Maintenance$100
Other costs$15
Registration, taxes, and fees$12
Total$1,057
Source: Move.org

If you decide to park on the streets instead of the garage, your monthly expenses could be $300-$400 lower.

Some fixed costs and variable costs of owning a car are:

  • Car loan payment or leasing costs
  • Car insurance
  • Gas
  • Inspections
  • Parking

Here are all costs you have to consider before buying a car in NYC:

1. Car payment

If your car is leased or purchased with a loan, you pay a monthly payment. In 2019, the average price of a new car was over $37,000, and significantly lower for a used car. The rates are the same across the country.

According to credit reporting agency Experian, the average monthly payment on a new car was $644 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

When buying a new car, you can expect a monthly car payment of around $500 or about $300 for a used car, so $400 per month is a good average.

2. Fuel costs

In New York State, the average driver travels about 11,871 miles per year, which will cost you $1,326 annually or $110 per month. You will also have to pay a gas tax in NYC, which might add around $250 to your total annual bill.

Also, the smaller your car and the less you drive, the lower the fuel costs.

3. Parking

Parking is the biggest pain point for New Yorkers. It can be freaking expensive and challenging in NYC.

For those who live in Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn, parking is at a premium; so if you need a garage, calculate at least $300 and as much as $1,200 a month.

Street parking is usually available in upper Manhattan or one of the other boroughs. Even in Manhattan, you might park on the street, but you need to have the time to drive around in circles looking for a spot.

Therefore, if you choose to do street parking, you will save money but increase the time, effort, and stress involved in car ownership in New York. Renting a garage is a less stressful option but will cost you at least $300 per month and even more in some neighborhoods.

Read below to learn more about parking fees in New York City.

4. Car insurance

The insurance cost is based on your driving record, age, marital status, zip code, and coverage. In New York State, the average cost of insurance is $1,582, nearly 11% more than the US average. An average would be $120 per month.

In fact, New York is the third-most expensive state in the US for car insurance rates. New York drivers pay an average of $1,062 annually for minimum coverage car insurance and $2,321 annually for full coverage.

If you commute from a nearby county, your insurance is cheaper.

5. Maintenance

The upkeep of your car will depend on the manufacturer, model, and age. The average cost for repairs, maintenance, and tires is $112.50 a month for a new car.

Some common services you need to perform are oil changes and tire rotations, which are usually done every 5,000-mile intervals. Hence, you won’t spend on this every month, but things come up. With a new car, your maintenance costs will be lower than with a used one.

As a rule of thumb, you should be setting aside about $100 every month for these things.

6. Fees and taxes related to car ownership

Car owners in the US have several fees and taxes to pay. Yearly car inspection can cost about $100 and initial vehicle registration is $50-60. You pay $64 to renew your driver’s license and $25 for license plate replacement every eight years.

Costs for vehicle original registrations and renewals in NYC:

  • Vehicle use tax: $30 for two years ($15 per year)
  • Supplemental MCTD fee: $50 for two years ($25 per year)

Total annually:

7. Other costs

Car washes cost about $15 a pop and are necessary after road salting.

8. Depreciation

Although you don’t make monthly payments for depreciation, you do lose some money every year, especially if you bought a new vehicle. In fact, in their first year, cars lose around 20% to 30% of their value.

Over each of the next five years, depreciation is usually between 10% and 18%.

Average cost of owning a car in NYC per month

NYC’s car owners spend an average of about $1,057 per month or 12,684 a year on a car, assuming they drive 11,871 miles annually. That figure includes depreciation, loan interest, fuel, insurance, garage, maintenance, and fees.

Here is an example of how much it costs to own a BMW 228xi in Manhattan per month, excluding gas, tolls, vehicle registration, and inspections:

  • Parking: $500
  • Insurance: $150
  • Lease payment or loan payment on BMW 228xi: $400
  • AAA: $11
  • Total monthly: $1,061/month
  • Total annual: $12,732

Car ownership is slightly more expensive than average in New York, mainly because of the high insurance, parking costs, and gas tax. Overall, you can expect to pay around $12,000 per year, including your car loan and garage.

However, your expenses can be reduced significantly by buying a car with cash and parking on the streets. In that case, a car in NYC will only cost about $4,236 a year or $353 per month.

Cost of owning a car in Brooklyn

Making yourself aware of the main costs for a car in NYC is crucial, but what about various parts of the city, e.g., Brooklyn? Car owners in Brooklyn will generally have the same expenses as any other car owner, except the numbers are higher – insurance, parking, gas, oil changes, etc.

Be prepared to pay for parking, as street parking will be pretty tough to come by. The average cost of monthly parking in a commercial garage in Brooklyn is $280.

Besides, New York has the third most expensive car insurance rates in the states. Drivers pay an average of $1,062 annually for minimum coverage and $2,321 annually for full coverage. With that said, insurance in Brookly will be approximately $1,200 – $1,800 per year.

Therefore, owning a car in Brooklyn will cost you like anywhere in NYC, plus slightly higher parking costs.

Average cost of car gas per month in NYC

In New York, the average price per gallon is $4.28 in 2022. To fill the tank of a smaller car, you will need about 12 gallons of gas which comes to $51,36. Larger cars can hold 15 or 16 gallons or about $65-70 per refill.

Depending on your driving needs, the monthly gas expenditure will range. But generally, if you fill up once a week, you’ll spend about $200 for a small car and $260 for a larger one. That comes to $2,400 – $3,120 annually.

Nonetheless, New York drivers travel about 11,871 miles per year; hence, use their cars less than average and spend about $1,326 on gas every year.

How much does parking cost in the NYC?

The cost of parking in NYC is expensive and comes at a premium. Garage parking in NYC ranges from $200 to $700 a month. 

According to the statistics, the average cost of monthly parking in NYC is $570. Yet, monthly parking in NYC could be as much as $1,200 per month in areas like Madison or Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side.

Parking lots in Manhattan are especially high – $500 on average. You could pay as much as $800 or $1,000 per month on the Upper West Side.

Street parking (Alternate Side) is another option to save on parking costs. It can be easier in other boroughs, but more people tend to own cars in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, so don’t expect to find a space there without a long hunt. 

Besides, you can’t just leave your car on the street for more than a day or two. You will need to move it. Therefore, if you’re thinking about owning a car in the city, think about parking a car in NYC first.

See more on parking in NYC.

When it comes to hourly parking rates, they vary across the five boroughs and depend on the neighborhood’s parking conditions, including land use, density, and parking demand. There are different parking rate zones across the city, you can see the main one in the table below.

Overall, NYC’s hourly parking rates range from $1.25 to $7.50 for private and $5.00 to $8.00 for commercial vehicles, depending on the location and duration.

Location1st hour2nd hour
Zone M1 – Midtown Core and Lower Manhattan$4.50$7.50
Zone M2 – Manhattan South of 96th Street$4.00$6.75
Zone M3 – Manhattan 96th St to 110th St$2.50$4.00
Zone 1 – Business Districts outside of Manhattan$2.00$4.00
Zone 2 – Neighborhood Retail Districts$1.50$2.50
Zone 3 – All Other Metered Locations$1.25$2.00
Source: nyc.gov

See all parking rates in NYC.

Pros and cons of having a car in NYC

As you might already figured out, owning a car in NYC isn’t fun and can be very challenging for both experienced and new drivers. If you are very wealthy and especially if you have a driver, some of those problems go away, but the traffic is still there.

The main and real advantage of having a car in New York is the flexibility and an addition to your luxury lifestyle. You can drive where you want and when you want. From an economic perspective, owning a car in NYC is hard to justify, but psychologically, you may find you do more outside of the city and be more mobile if you own a car.

Pros:

  • Avoiding overcrowded public transport
  • It makes life more convenient
  • Driving take less time than public transit
  • Easy to go grocery shopping
  • Traveling to other states is easier

Cons:

  • Hard to find parking or be prepared to cash out for garage
  • Gas is expense
  • Traffic is insane and NYC drivers are mean
  • Insurance is expensive
  • Parallel parking

If you live and work in one of NYC’s boroughs, it might be more convenient to have a car. The boroughs have more space for parking and better traffic than Manhattan. If you live or work in Manhattan, owning a car might make your life rather harder than easier.

Besides, some of the valid reasons to get a car in NYC are the need to commute out of the city, ill parent/partner, your work requires a vehicle, or other reasons why you can’t use public transport or uber.

Also, it makes more sense if you live in the outer boroughs. You might have a driveway or even a garage. Or maybe you make enough money that the cost is simply not a big deal.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

Recent Posts