A surprising article I read in S.Club magazine says the costs vary widely, but you should consider liability insurance, property damage insurance, property taxes, license tags, routine oil changes, wiper blades, other inspection costs. Plus depreciation, tires, windshield washer fluid, radiator flush, cabin and other air filters. Repairs from minor scrapes you don’t report to insurance companies. Longer term things like fan belts, and timing belts, brake repairs. Car washes and waxes could figure in as well. Of course gasoline. Not to mention garage space rental (at work, perhaps?). Or the costs to the environment of your carbon exhaust (who pays for the clean up?). Road tolls?
The best guess for a reasonably new economy car, small type, driven 20,000 miles a year is $ .369 a mile. So that 3 mile trip to save a dollar? It costs you a dollar. A large sedan or SUV driven only 10,000 miles a year costs a staggering $ .931 per mile. That 150 mile trip to visit mom (round trip) costs you about $279. So air fare doesn't look all that out of line.
The above website is an interesting explanation of costs to own a car by AAA.
Note that, due in part to big boxes, we now travel (on average) double what we did 35 years ago to get food and other items from stores.
Noting the shocking $ .93 a mile cost to drive a car, I notice that an UBER ride in South Florida that I was pricing (on line) before calling the car was going to charge me $37 to $43 for the trip of 31 miles from airport to hotel. That’s about what it costs for a larger vehicle, driven only 10,000 miles a year. So, if that’s your option, the cost of UBER and your car would be about the same. But we all know the fixed costs of car ownership (depreciation and all that) run on even if you don’t drive it. So it’s not a fair comparison.
But, suppose the UBER driver had to dead-head back to the airport to get his/her next fare? Then they break even or lose money, perhaps.