The True Cost of Driving Calculator

How much does it REALLY cost
you to drive?

Use the True Cost of Driving Online Calculator to find out!

When considering the cost of driving, most people think only about how much they pay for gas. Drivers also pay to buy and maintain a car, including tune-ups, oil and tires, as well as for insurance, registration, and parking.

Indirect costs of driving, such as road construction and maintenance, add to drivers’ financial burden through taxes and fees. In addition, there are quality of life costs that drivers and non-drivers alike pay to support automobile transportation. Though challenging to quantify, these added impacts include air pollution, traffic congestion, and health care.

Use this educational tool to calculate both your out-of-pocket Direct Driver's Expenses and the Indirect Costs of your driving habits. Once you consider the true cost of driving alone, other transportation options such as carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus, walking, riding a bike or telecommuting may look more attractive. Call 831.429.POOL or visit us online at for a list of potential carpool partners or for help planning your next bike, bus or walking trip to from, or within Santa Cruz County, CA. For more information about how these expenses are determined, please visit the True Cost of Driving Article.


  • Enter information about your commute and driving habits.
  • Use the driver costs provided (based on California driving conditions) or change amounts to reflect your own expenses.
  • The calculator gives you your annual vehicle mileage and calculates your true cost of driving.

Your daily MILES TO AND FROM WORK (please round to the nearest mile)
Add in your average daily NON-WORK MILES
Your Annual Vehicle Mileage is:
1. Determine your Annual Vehicle Mileage    (number of miles you drive in one year)
2. Your Direct Driver's Expenses COSTS
  Fixed costs (insurance, registration, motor vehicle taxes) ¢ per mile
  Finance Charge ¢ per mile
  Depreciation ¢ per mile
  Fuel ¢ per mile
  Maintenance and Tires ¢ per mile
  Residential Parking ¢ per mile
  Parking and Tolls: user paid (if applicable) ¢ per mile
  Travel Time (with average delays) ¢ per mile
  Accidents (personal costs of injury and property damage) ¢ per mile
  Total Direct Drivers Expense per mile
3. Your Indirect Costs COSTS
  Accidents (government-paid cleanup, lost economic activity, etc.)  ¢ per mile
  State and Local Construction, Improvements and Repair ¢ per mile
  State and Local Highway Maintenance and Operations ¢ per mile
  Parking (commercial and employer-paid, including government tax) ¢ per mile
  Waste Disposal (highway cleanup, tire and oil removal) ¢ per mile
  Air Pollution Damage (health costs, crops, trees, materials, etc.) ¢ per mile
  External Resource Consumption Costs (economic trade and natural resource use) ¢ per mile
  Road Noise (property value decrease and abatement) ¢ per mile
  CO2 Reduction (motor vehicles only) ¢ per mile
  Water Pollution and Hydrologic Impacts ¢ per mile
  Transportation Diversity and Equity ¢ per mile
  Barrier Effects on Pedestrians and Bicycles ¢ per mile
  Land Use Impact Costs ¢ per mile
  Roadway Land Value ¢ per mile
  Congestion Cost ¢ per mile
  Total Indirect Costs per mile associated with driving
  The Total Dollar Cost per mile (Direct Driver's Expenses plus Indirect Costs)
4. The Actual Cost of Your Driving per year (Annual Mileage times Cost/Mile)
  • Gas prices are updated the first Tuesday of every month, from the Fuel Gauge Report for the Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California area. Most recent update: $2.60/gal, January 5, 2016.