Driving: non-cheap

There’s a lot of stuff in my rad new book about what a bargain driving is, relatively, given the (fairly absurd) existence of free parking and the massive explicit and implicit subsidies provided (and constantly demanded by) road users. While obviously things like congestion pricing, higher gas taxes (enough to actually pay for road improvements, anyhow) and variable curbside parking costs would help a lot to reveal the actual costs of driving (and cut down congestion; apparently as much as 30% of in-town traffic at any given moment is people looking for parking) I realized that — given my near-total lack of devotion to accurately tracking my expenses — I didn’t really have a good sense of how expensive driving a given route actually was. There must, I thought, be some kind of Google Maps mashup that can tell you how much a given route costs to drive. Well, sure enough there is, (in a pretty good implementation that’ll even grab local gas costs) and it’s pretty startling how quickly you can end up spending 20 or 30 dollars going not-very-far in optimal traffic conditions. This site goes even further, calculating depreciation and maintenance costs, but doesn’t have any map integration. Neither of the sites integrates with traffic data, obviously a major factor in mileage. So here’s what would be rad: a google maps mashup that integrates real-time traffic, city and highway mileage, vehicle maintenance and depreciation costs, and lets you use the Google Maps waypoint feature to design (automatically or by hand) routes which avoid the most congested roads, and then let you sort those routes by both time and expense. Even better, it should be for the iPhone or other GPS smartphones.

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4 Comments

  1. ari
    Posted August 14, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Are we allowed to link to your blog? Not that I would, or anything, I’m just wondering about the rulez. Because I’m a rule follower.

  2. Posted August 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Fine by me. It’s not actually secret, just too dorky for me to want to tell anybody about it. And it’s fun to pretend it’s secret.

  3. ari
    Posted August 14, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Secrets are fun, it’s true. But I want to link to this post, because I’m on a big “STOP FUCKING DRIVING (except when you have to or for fun)” kick.

  4. Posted August 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I’m excited about this “don’t drive much” thing, now. Link away, man.


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  1. […] 15, 2008 in history and current events by ari Sifu Tweety has a new blog. And this post includes links to some cool tools that allow one to calculate the incredibly high cost of driving […]

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