How much would you need to be paid to not drive for one year?
For me, I would need to be paid USD 50,000.
Driving and cars has been my passion ever since I was a little kid. My dad let me drive in our 1993 model Mazda 121 when I was 10 years old in a closed circuit track of a park each month and each time I would drive for an hour straight. I also drove back home from the CBD one night when I was 14 without a license and nearly got pulled over by a random breath testing blockade.
My first car was a 1992 Honda Prelude which I bought in 2002 for 13,000 dollars. It only had 60,000 kilometres and belonged to a mid level banker who worked for Westpac. He bought the car when he just started working and has upgraded to a Mercedes station wagon to fit the kids. The car was manual and neither I nor my dad knew how to drive a stick shift. We had to get our family friend to drive it back home for us. My dad and I would then take the Prelude out every night when there’s no traffic to practice how to drive manual.
When I knew I was going to move to Hong Kong for work in 2009, I sold the Prelude to a 18 year old girl as her first car with 110,000 on the odometer for 5,000 dollars. She was so eager to have the car that she didn’t even inspect anything and handed over the cash to me immediately in exchange for the keys. She was lucky that I service my own car and kept it in prime condition through out the years.
I have not owned another car since then because owning a car is very expensive in Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai. First you have to enter into an auction to get the number plate which costs around 90k CNY (around 15k USD) and could take up to 2 years to win the auction. The prices of cars are also around double that of the United States. Parking is not readily available at both your home or anywhere outside so you need to pay around 2-5 USD per hour for parking. Petrol prices are also very expensive compared to the US.
On the other hand, using Uber and Didi is very very cheap with each ride around the city costing as low as 1 USD, to around 15 USD for a trip to the airport which is the furthest I would go. Therefore, it doesn’t make any economical sense to own a car in Shanghai.
It kills me inside to not be able to touch the steering wheel and the gear stick. Even looking at my own car makes me happy. The only thing I can do now is to look through many different the car websites, go through all the models and imagine owning them. I also bookmark the website http://www.goauto.com.au/ which tells me which new models will be released in the future.
I hope to one day return to Australia and buy my favourite car which is the Toyota Landcruiser. By the time I return in 5-10 years time, I would have family and kids so I need at least a 7 seater. I also have strong passion for 4WD off road driving. I was really close to purchasing a Mitsubishi Pajero back in 2008 for 50,000 dollars when cars around the world was all on discount due to the GFC.
Hope now you can see why I require so much money to not own a car. The flip side to not owning a car is that I can always look forward to buying the newest model. Where as once you’ve bought a new car, you are pretty much stuck with it for the next 5-10 years.