The Pros And Cons Of Driving Your Own Car In NYC


At present, nearly 1.4 million out of a total of 3.1 million households in NYC own a car, according to a recent census. Of these households, approximately 3% currently own three or more cars. Despite nearly half of all households owning a car, not all make use of it for their daily commutes. In fact, only 27% of the 3.8 million-strong workforce commutes to and from work in their own private vehicles. While many New Yorkers undoubtedly relish the freedom that comes with owning a car, others are vehemently opposed to the idea. In order to make an educated decision, it is essential to have a closer look at both the advantages and disadvantages of having your own car.  Did you know the longest commute in the US is considered to be between Toms River, New Jersey and Manhatten at over 3 hours one way!?!?

There are Benefits to Having a Car in NYC

There are Benefits to Having a Car in NYC

There are numerous benefits to owning a car in New York City.  First and foremost, owning a car allows you to go where you want when you want. Not only can you commute to and from work, but you can also run errands without having to rely on public transport. Having your own car is also convenient if you want to pop out of the city for a weekend or go on a country-wide road trip. A midsize car such as the Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Malibu is ideal for city commuting, as it is not only considered to be relatively fuel-efficient, but also sports a spacious interior and a range of safety features.


  1. Convenience: Having your own car means you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, without the need to wait for public transportation.
  2. Privacy and Comfort: Your car is your personal space, offering privacy and the ability to control the environment in terms of temperature, music, and seating.
  3. Flexibility for Trips: It’s easier to plan trips outside the city or carry a lot of items without the constraints of public transport schedules or luggage restrictions.
  4. Safety: During late hours or in less accessible areas, driving can feel safer than walking or waiting for public transit.

Don’t Ignore the Drawbacks

One of the biggest drawbacks of owning a car in NYC is the high cost of parking. An apartment with a garage can cost as much as $150,000 more than one without, while the average cost of monthly parking in the city will set you back in the region of $430. If the lack of affordable parking isn’t enough of a deterrent, having to hunt for fuel might be.


  1. Traffic Congestion: NYC is infamous for its heavy traffic, which can lead to long commute times and increased stress.
  2. Parking Challenges: Finding parking can be a nightmare, and parking fees are often steep, whether it’s street parking or in garages.
  3. High Costs: Owning a car in NYC comes with high costs, including insurance, maintenance, fuel, and parking, which are often higher than in other cities.
  4. Environmental Impact: More cars contribute to pollution and the city’s carbon footprint.
  5. Limited Usefulness in Core Areas: In densely packed areas like Manhattan, public transportation often proves to be more efficient and faster for getting around.
  6. Navigational Challenges: Navigating through NYC’s busy streets and dealing with pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles can be daunting for even the most experienced drivers.

Gas Stations are Few and Far Between

There aren’t many gas stations below 96th Street, according to the New York Times, which has also dubbed the borough a ‘fuel desert’. Unless you live near a gas station, you need to be prepared to travel quite some distance to fill up. Another disadvantage of owning a car in the city is the considerably steep cost of insurance you will have to contend with. Apart from premiums ranging anywhere between $2,200 and $3,500, drivers also have to deal with increased wear and tear on their cars brought on by stop-and-go traffic and parking in tight spaces.

There are Alternatives Worth Considering

If you aren’t convinced that driving your own car in NYC is a good idea, you can consider a number of alternative transport solutions.  NYC boasts a superb public transport system that provides an invaluable service to millions of New Yorkers every year. The NY Metro Transport Authority (MTA) operates a fleet consisting of more than 6,000 buses that effectively cover more than 322 routes. The city also sports more than 470 subway stations, making it the largest subway network in the world. Depending on where you want to go, you can also make use of rail transport, a ferry, an iconic yellow taxi, or an Uber.

There are numerous pros and cons to owning a car while living in NYC. At the end of the day, your personal budget and transport requirements will determine whether private vehicle ownership or public transport is the most viable option for you.

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