It’s not cheap or easy to own a car in NYC. More than half of New Yorkers don’t own a vehicle. But if you must have one for work or play, here are several ways to make it less expensive and less stressful.
The end of December and first week of January are a great time to buy or lease a new or certified used vehicle, since nearly every dealer and manufacturer is offering doorbuster sales.
So here’s how to save money on owning or leasing a car in New York City:
Pay for Parking Annually
If you are like most of us, especially those of us who live in apartment buildings with no underground garages, even brownstones with no driveways, you have no private parking.
You already know that covered garages usually cost more than open lots. But did you know that many garages offer an annual pass, which can save you up to one month rate out of twelve.
Check at least three garages to compare prices, perks and discounts.
- Tip: Locking in a rate at the start of the year can help you avoid rate increases during the year.
- Just make sure there’s a price lock in your parking contract.
Buy a Hybrid, PHEV or EV Vehicle
Vehicles registered in New York State must undergo safety testing every 12 months at a DMV-licensed inspection station, and also whenever vehicle registration is transferred.
Most, but not all, vehicles also require emissions testing, at the same time. Exceptions are electric cars and hybrids, including plug-in hybrids, less than two years old are exempt from emissions testing (although not exempt from safety testing).
So in addition to saving on gas costs, a hybrid, PHEV or EV will save you even more money on emission testing and inspection costs.
- Tip: As a green driver, you may even qualify for discounts on freeway tolls and car insurance premiums.
- Contact your local insurance agency to learn more.
Fill Up Outside Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn
Simply, gas is more expensive in Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn because real estate and re-supply costs are higher than other parts of town. Indeed, several gas stations in Manhttan and Brooklyn have shuttered recently to be replaced by high rises.
There’s a string of low-priced stations in Long Island City, Queens, between the 59th St. Bridge and the LIE.
And there’s New Jersey, of course, where prices are up to 50 cents less than NYC, and just over the NYC border in Westchester. You could save as much as $20 with each fill-up.
- Tip: Gas Buddy updates gas prices daily with the ten least expensive gas stations in the area. And if you are driving over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house in the hinterlands, just change your “home” location to locate the best prices wherever you are. the app and website will follow you
- Tip: Don’t waste money on premium gas. Most vehicles don’t need it.
Organizing a carpool for the people in your area who work with or near you. Splitting the cost of fuel can help you save money at the same time you are saving the environment from additional emissions.
- Tip: Check with your company’s HR staff to help locate neighbors you might not know, or consider starting your own carpool website or Facebook page to attract participants.
Owning a car in New York City can be a challenge. But you’re up to a challenge, aren’t you.