What’s the Cost of Driving Your Car?
September 21, 2016
You’re running late leaving your house and finally get into your car, only to pull onto I-95 to find gridlock, further cementing the fact you’ll be late to work. To add insult to injury, you’re watching your gasoline gauge slowly tick to empty as your idling car burns fuel. Unfortunately, as a South Floridian, this scenario is all too familiar.
Speaking of your gas tank, let’s take a closer look. Gas prices in South Florida are generally higher than the rest of the state, thanks to higher local taxes. The average gas price in Miami is currently $2.26 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com, allowing the 27 mile drive to Fort Lauderdale to add up quickly. And speaking of adding up, in rush hour it takes the average South Florida resident one hour and 48 minutes to cover a route that should only take them 30 minutes—now THAT is adding up! Of the 500 million trips taken each year between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, 95 percent of those trips are in private cars. No wonder you’re always stuck in traffic.
Now let’s consider the effect of the express toll lanes. The current maximum price we see on the daily commute for the express lane on Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade is $10.50. However, there is no official price cap, so that number could (and likely will) continue to increase. All these expenses add up quick. During peak travel times, check out how the math works. Driving between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, your trip can cost about $37.50 ($13.50 for Route Mileage costs* + $10.50 in tolls + $13.50 for parking). Traveling between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach will run you about $34.34 ($24.84 for Route Mileage Costs* + $9.50 for parking). And the longest drive between Miami and West Palm Beach could be as high as $62.30 ($37.80 in Route Mileage costs* +10.50 in Tolls + $14.00 for parking)! And keep in mind, these costs are for a one-way trip. The price doubles when you head back home.
The other factor to consider is the time it takes you to drive. An average commute from Miami to Fort Lauderdale (or vice versa) during peak times will typically take at best an hour and at worst close to two hours. Driving from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach will typically take at least an hour or more. And if you are making the trek from Miami to West Palm Beach, be prepared to spend at least two hours in your vehicle. South Florida’s highways were built decades ago, when Florida’s population was much smaller and therefore these roads are not built to accommodate the large volumes of cars (and trucks) on them every single day.
What happens when something goes wrong with your car? Florida residents spend an average of $2,452.10 every time they have to make a repair to their car, according to a study done by Audatex, an independent company that supplies statistics to insurance companies, repair shops, and the government. The quickest way to reduce this number? Reduce the amount of time you use your car. Fast forward to next summer and enter Brightline, Florida’s first intercity, express train service that will provide South Floridians an exciting new transit alternative, savings to their gas expenses and a way to reduce their car maintenance costs, as well as considerable time savings. Upon launch, South Florida residents can arrive at Brightline’s train station at MiamiCentral, park their cars and hop on a Brightline train and arrive in Fort Lauderdale a quick thirty minutes later.
Soon, the days of stressful commutes and traffic congestion will be just a memory. Say goodbye to your alternative routes and overcrowded highways. Oh, and those traffic-reporting smartphone apps? Go ahead and save space on your phone and delete those too. It’s time to let someone else do the heavy lifting, saving you time and money while you tackle your commute in comfort and style aboard a new Brightline train with comfortable seats, ample leg room to stretch out, power outlets available at each seat, and free Wi-Fi to optimize your time. Specially created for a smooth and quiet ride with large windows providing views from every seat, the trains allow you the perfect way to ease into your day, or decompress from a long one. There will also be a food and beverage selection, bike and luggage storage, and the trains are fully accessible and pet-friendly.
Now, imagine arriving to work calm and well-rested, having spent your commute in the comfort of a Brightline train prepping for your day, listening to your favorite songs or even napping.
Take Brightline and take back your commute. The cost of driving can no longer be justified.
*Route Mileage based on the IRS 2016 standard mileage rate of .54 for business travel, based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.