The pros and cons of owning a car in NYC

Do you think it is a good idea to own a vehicle in a city that is dubbed “the city that hates cars”? Owning a car in NYC can be a tricky business especially if you are not prepared for it. NYC public transport is one of the best in the nation and it can easily get you to work and back, mind the rats and the smell. If you don’t mind spending more on transport, there is always the famous NYC cab. Nevertheless, people still do it and they brag about it. They are proud to own a car here like it’s another obstacle NYC threw at them and they were able to overcome it. If you hired one of affordable NYC moving companies, you might still afford a car here. So let’s look into pros and cons of owning a car in NYC more closely.

Owning a car in NYC

This is a question that plagues many New Yorkers and it is usually one of the first things you need to give up to be able to live in the greatest city in the world. Many residents tend to decide against owning a car in NYC, saving a lot of money in the process. Others keep their vehicle but choose to drive it smartly. Like almost everything else in the Big Apple, this is also a balancing act, one that can make you or break you, depending on how you deal with the situation.

Owning a car in NYC
Con-NYC traffic.

The horror story of parking in NYC

If you are among the few lucky ones that can afford an apartment in Manhattan with its own spot, that will add up to $150,000 to its final cost. A friend of my husband sold his downtown NYC parking spot for a whopping sum of $100,000. The friend acquired the spot for a couple of thousands in the first place, so his profit was immense. If you start looking into renting one from a garage, it can cost up to $1000 in the city. Street parking is the most affordable one, but it turns out no one wants it. Another good tip is that most garages lower parking fees in spring and summer when fewer people tend to drive to the city. It’s a different story in the winter time and some garages will almost double the cost of parking.

owning a car in NYC
The parking horror that is NYC.

Just think about it, owning a car in NYC takes all the advantages of having one away from you. You won’t be able to find parking on the streets for hours on end. It’s no good going grocery shopping because again, you will be fighting for a parking spot. You won’t be able to drive across town to visit a friend, why? Because there are no parking spots either! Nevertheless, if you still plan to attempt parking on NYC streets, plan to invest in a couple good bumper guards as well. And don’t forget the complex street cleaning schedules! You’ll have to become an expert at these, altering street sides whenever necessary. Still, some New Yorkers go as far as to predict tickets and towing in their yearly budgets.


Most people wouldn’t guess it, but NYC car insurance rates are cheaper than those in neighboring areas. On the other hand, within NY state the most expensive car insurance counties are the 5 boroughs of NYC. So, besides the usual factor such as your age and driving record, your borough will also determine insurance rates. Another interesting fact is that Brooklyn proved to be pricier than Manhattan, with an average annual premium of $3,550, compared to $2,272.80 in Manhattan.

Another occurrence in NYC car insurance is that drivers here report more wear and tear than anywhere else. This is due to tight streets, parallel parking, wore down brakes from a stop and go traffic etc.

Filling up on gas

Owning a car in NYC means you will be living in a gas desert. Currently, Manhattan has barely over 30 gas stations remaining and only one of those is in downtown. Another annoying fact, gas in NYC is more expensive than anywhere else. A lot of driving New Yorkers tend to drive outside of the city to fill up, which in return means more inconvenience along the way. The diminishing number of gas pumps in Manhattan makes perfect sense. Any best Manhattan rental broker will tell you, land here is expensive and it’s worth more as real estate than some gas station. We can assure you that long distance movers NYC plan ahead and fill up outside of the city every time. We should point out that the cheapest gas outside of downtown might as well be in New Jersey. This doesn’t mean you will find it right across the bridge or on the other side of a tunnel. If you have family or friends living in Central or South Jersey, ask them to supply you with gas regularly.

Owning a car in NYC
There are fewer and fewer gas stations in Manhattan.

Owning a car in NYC is a simple question when you are looking to live in Manhattan on a budget. You don’t! If you believe you have what it takes and you are brave enough to do it, we have one advice for you. Be mindful of the NYC traffic. Therefore, be aggressive! There is a certain flow to NYC traffic, however crazy it might sound, and it has its own unique rules. Mirrors are your best friend here! Always look in the mirror for other cars, bikers or mindless tourists. And think twice about owning a car in NYC, you might be better off without one!