No matter what our location, it seems that transportation costs make up a substantial portion of our budget. From gas, tolls, repairs, and maintenance costs to the price of insurance and parking, there are a variety of expenses that can come into play when it comes to maintaining the family vehicle and getting to and from where we need to be. Having lived in both urban and rural environments, we've been exposed to both ends of the transportation spectrum and have seen how such situations can factor into our related costs.
I was amazed at just how much our insurance dropped when we moved from an urban environment to a rural one. I guess it makes sense, since the likelihood of an accident is probably lower and the difficulty of driving and number of drivers on the road is much less in a more rural environment as opposed to an urban one. Plus, our number of miles driven dropped dramatically when we moved to our rural environment. This combination of less driving and safer driving meant that our insurance premiums for the same car dropped from about $950 a year in an urban environment to about $590 a year in a more rural location.
Gas Prices and Tolls
I was somewhat surprised to find that gas prices were similar in both our city and country locations. I guess in a way, it kind of makes sense. In the city environment from which we moved, transportation routes are more numerous, consumption higher, and competition among gas suppliers and providers greater. In our rural location, it took more to get the gas out to where we were and there were fewer gas stations meaning fewer options for travelers.
I found it interesting that with nearly 2,000 miles between the Chicagoland area from which we moved and the west coast location to which we arrived, there was hardly any difference between gas prices…however, there weren't any tolls in our west coast location as there were in Illinois, which made for simpler and less costly driving when it came to traveling in our near vicinity.
City vs. Country Driving
Another interesting revelation was the amount of driving time and gas we used to get to different places in our two very opposite locations. In our urban environment, travel distances were shorter, but involved more stop-and-go type driving which ate up more fuel and was harder on our vehicle. In the rural environment, the driving was easier, smoother, and easier on our vehicle, but the distances between things much greater.
So it seems to me that other than the insurance aspect, when it comes to costs in other areas, there are positives and negatives to both driving environments that can play against one another depending upon the needs of the particular driver(s).
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