Having a Car in College: Is it Worthwhile?

In one word: no

Most college students see their first foray into the real world as a long-awaited bid for freedom. And this is exactly what the image of a car promotes: the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want to. Unfortunately, most automobiles are more like a ball and chain than a chance for increased freedom. With all the attendant costs and responsibilities associated with vehicle ownership, you may soon be cursing the day you decided to bring your car to college with you.

So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy or retain a vehicle as you pursue your academic degree, here are just a few reasons you might want to say no to the auto:

1. Related costs

This is a doozy of a reason to do it like the Flintstones and rely on the courtesy of your own two feet to get around. First there is the purchase price of the car to consider. Will you pay with cash or do you have to take out a loan (on top of all your student loans)? Then there is registration, which might not be too bad if you own an older vehicle, and insurance, which is bound to remain high until you turn 25.

On top of that you’ll have to factor in the price of gas, which looks to rise in the coming months thanks to continued unrest in the Middle East, and basic maintenance like fluid and filter changes (not to mention potential accidents that could require you to pay a deductible in addition to raising insurance rates). And of course, there will be parking fees on campus. That’s a lot of greenbacks.

2. Maintenance

Not only does car maintenance cost you money, it will also suck up some of your valuable time (that could be better spent studying or sleeping). Even new cars have to go in for oil changes at least four times a year, and that’s the bare minimum. Older vehicles will likely have more problems and take longer to service. And if you live in a state that requires smog certification, you’re looking at even more time and money down the drain.

3. Minimal use

If you’re living on or near campus, you probably won’t even use a car that much. You can easily get to classes on foot or by bicycle, and even if you drive to the campus, you’re going to have to pay to park your car all day while you walk from class to class. When you think about how little you’ll actually be using your vehicle, it makes the associated costs seem even more wasteful.

4. Public transportation

If you really need to get around off campus for some reason, there’s always public transportation at your disposal. Buses can get you all over town (to the grocery store, doctor appointments, off-campus jobs, and so on) for cheap, while you’re more likely to take a plane home if your family lives far away. Think about the benefits of these options (versus owning a vehicle) before you decide that a car is the only way to go.

5. Green living

You’re a responsible adult now, so why not start acting like one? Embracing a social and environmental consciousness is a great way to show that you’re more than just a spoiled child living off mommy and daddy. Take the first step towards a green lifestyle by giving up the car while you’re in college in an effort to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll save a lot more than money as you work towards a better future for yourself, and the planet.

Leon Harris writes for compare car insurance where you can find cheap car insurance rates that will suit your needs.

One Thought on “Having a Car in College: Is it Worthwhile?”

  1. Okay well you would have to be a complete retard not to be able to change you’re own oil. On my truck I don’t even need to jack it up, I just crawl right under and I am good to go.Takes like 10 minutes if that. Only cost me 15 bucks for oil. And a car is pretty useful in college. That’s how I get to and from my job and to class. And global warming is BS. Insurance is only 70 dollars a month on my truck too. Not that expensive.

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