Driving is more expensive than you think


Kennedy School study puts annual Mass. costs at $64 billion, hopes figure will be used as a comparison in mass-transit spending decisions

If you think the cost of driving is borne only by individuals who own cars, you may want to think again.

And you might be surprised just how pricey it is.

A team of graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School estimate that the annual price tag for maintaining Massachusetts’ car economy is roughly $64.1 billion, with more than half of that coming from public funds. While they didn’t perform an analysis for all the states, the group notes that the cost structure would be similar.

“This is a huge number,” said the paper’s lead author, Stevie Olson, M.P.P. ’20. “It’s unexpected because the majority of drivers, citizens, consumers experience roads for free. You just drive out your parking lot, your driveway, and you’re on the road. No one’s charging you, but there’s all of these costs that are both public costs, indirect externalities that are also costs, and then private costs that people are incurring.”

Read More