Pas Trusted News – Taking a Car to College? Consider These Expenses First

Car Expenses To Consider as a College Student

Between parking passes, fuel costs, regular maintenance and auto insurance, car ownership isn’t cheap for college students. Learn more about expenses you could face in the sections below. While you’ll deal with car insurance costs whether you take your vehicle to college or not, many expenses will be far higher if you bring the car along with you.

You’ll Need a Place To Park

Annual parking fees at universities can be steep many students pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to park at some of the most popular college campuses across the U.S.

Of the country’s top 100 universities based on student population, we found that 82 offered yearly parking passes for students staying on campus. The average cost of a parking pass at these schools was $510 per year, meaning that you’ll save sizable cash if you leave your car at home. That isn’t feasible for all students, however, so parking may be a necessary expense.

Fuel Is Expensive

Parking aside, consider your potential fuel expenses. Data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that Americans between the ages of 16 and 34 drive an average of 11,361 miles per year.

While the average cost of gas has fallen from an all-time high of $5.02 per gallon in June 2022, it’s still pricey to fill up your tank. According to AAA, the national average in July 2023 was $3.56 per gallon for regular-grade gasoline. It’s worth thinking about whether the convenience of bringing your car to university outweighs the cost of gas.

What About Car Maintenance?

Maintenance services such as regular oil changes and tire rotations help to keep your vehicle in optimal condition and lessen your chances of a mechanical breakdown. How much, however, can you expect to spend per year on routine maintenance for your car?

RepairPal, a provider of car ownership resources, estimates that the average vehicle costs $652 per year to maintain and repair. While actual costs depend on factors like your vehicle’s make, model and mileage, it’s best to have a ballpark estimate of your car’s maintenance needs.

Don’t Forget About Car Insurance

Auto insurance is another must-have if you’re bringing your car to college. All states other than Virginia and New Hampshire have minimum requirements for how much car insurance is needed. Even if you stick to the bare minimum, insurance premiums will cost drivers under the age of 20 more than older, experienced drivers.

Why are car insurance rates so high for young, college-aged drivers? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) paints a clear picture. Its data shows that drivers between 16 and 19 years of age are three times more likely to get into a fatal crash than drivers 20 years and older. Those with greater risk factors will generally pay more for insurance premiums than others.

Still, there are ways to get car insurance for college students that won’t break the bank. You’ll find that many insurers offer auto insurance discounts to students who maintain good grades. Additionally, staying on your parents’ plan instead of purchasing your own could save you some serious cash if that’s an option.

Should You Bring Your Car to College?

The decision to bring your car to college hinges on much more than just auto expenses. Thinking through the following factors could offer insight into whether taking a car along fits your specific needs.

Incoming Freshman? Think Twice

If you’re a freshman at college, there’s a good chance that your school won’t allow you to bring a car to campus. This usually relates to parking logistics, since older students are generally given seniority when it comes to parking spaces. Every school is different, of course, so check with the appropriate department on campus to see if this rule applies to you.

Prepare To Drive Your Friends

Choosing to bring your car to college comes with another factor, especially if your friends decide to leave their vehicles at home. You may be asked for rides regularly and while this may not be a big deal if they contribute to gas and parking fees, it could be inconvenient in the long run.

Where’s Your Campus?

Campus location greatly matters when deciding whether to bring your car along. If you attend a school located in an urban hub, it may be easier to get around using public transportation. Schools like the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of San Francisco provide students with free access to city transportation services. However, if your college is in a rural area, you’d likely benefit from having a car to get to off-campus spots.

College Dorms vs. Off-Campus Housing

Choosing to live in off-campus housing versus a college dorm practically guarantees that you’ll need a car or another reliable transportation method to get around. Commuter passes are often cheaper than campus parking for those who live in dorms, though this isn’t always true. Again, check with your school’s appropriate department for an estimate of how much you could pay as a commuter versus living on campus.

Consider Car Shipping for Out-Of-State Moves

If you attend college far away from home and have decided to bring your own car, driving it to school may involve hundreds or even thousands of miles. It may be better to save yourself the added stress and potential expenses by considering car shipping services.

Shipping vs. Driving Your Car to College

If you’ve chosen a college campus that’s far away from home, driving your car to school will take careful planning. First off, calculate how long it will realistically take you to reach your college. Then factor in the cost of multiple tanks of gas, meals and lodging if applicable.

Along with saving you time and money, car shipping could reduce potential risk factors that come with long-distance drives. You’ll decrease wear and tear on your vehicle and will protect it from potential car accidents and mechanical breakdowns.

Consider all of these factors as you decide whether to ship a car or drive it. This will save you from being blindsided by the costs associated with either method of getting your car to campus. If you’re curious about auto transport methods, it’s worth learning about how to ship a car.

Cost of Shipping Your Car to College

We’ve gathered quotes from a few of the top auto transport companies on the market to give you a ballpark estimate of what you could pay to ship a car. These quotes are for shipments from Philadelphia to San Francisco, which is about 2,900 miles. If you’re traveling a shorter distance you’ll likely pay significantly less than the amounts quoted below.

We’ve researched all of these auto shipping providers and can verify that they’re reputable and each have years of experience. However, doing your own research is crucial if you decide to ship a car to college. This will help you make the right choice for your budget and transport needs.

Car Shipping Discounts for Students

If these prices are outside of your price range, there are shipping providers that offer discounted rates exclusively for college students. For instance, AmeriFreight offers a discount if you provide the company with up-to-date student identification. Easy Car Shipping also provides coast-to-coast car transport for as little as 60 cents per mile for students. Ask about these discounts and any others you may qualify for as you plan to ship your car to college.

Taking Your Car to College: The Bottom Line

Whether having a car with you at school is worth it largely depends on your personal situation. Car expenses aren’t cheap, and as a college student you’re probably on a tighter budget.

If you’ve sorted out the costs and decide to bring your vehicle to college, consider car shipping to save time and remove stress. In the end, however whether you’re loading up the back seat with boxes or hopping on a plane it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your needs.

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