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Not everyone has a car in Dubai. Whether you've recently landed in Dubai, or are long time residents feeling the pain of rising costs, we compare the advantages of owning a car, renting or using car services like taxis, Uber or Careem.

The experts at CarSwitch helped us crunch some numbers:

The results were determined by assuming daily commutes come down to an average of two 30 km trips a day, 6 days a week, so hitting an average of 20,000 kms a year with half of them crossing a Salik gate.


Buying a car:

Most commonly driven UAE car is the Toyota Corolla. We will use the Corolla 2017 as the example for this case:

Total cost: Dh60,500

20 per cent down payment: Dh12,100

Monthly payment: Approximately Dh900 for a 5 year payback plan

Extra car costs:

  1. Dh3,000 to Dh4,000 for comprehensive insurance
  2. Dh1,000 in registration related costs such as the annual inspection fees
  3. Dh1,000 for cleaning, service, and maintenance costs
  4. Dh4,000 to Dh5,000 in Salik and fuel costs assuming the current per liter

Total yearly cost: Dh20,800 (excluding the downpayment)


Renting a car

Renting a type has less complicated costs primarily because registration, service and maintenance costs are taken care of. We used a basic economy sedan for this case.

Monthly payment: Dh2,000-Dh3,000 due to seasonal peaks and slumps and most agencies provide discounts on longer term commitments

Extra costs: Dh4,000-5,000 in Salik and fuel costs which are similar to that of owning a car.

Total yearly cost: Dh40,500


Hailing

You own no car and you want to get around the city. Chauffeured rides are the simplest in terms of cost calculations and risk factors such as fines or accidents.

Let's assume you hail a cab or order a car for Dh40 to Dh50 one way, which makes your return trip approximately Dh100 a day, five days a week.

Monthly Payment: Dh2,500 

Extra car costs: Dh0

 An added perk is being chauffeured around without the headache of driving yourself, and there is certainly some economic value in clearing those extra emails or expanding your horizons in the latest book you grabbed.

Total yearly cost: Dh24,000


What is the best course of action?

Over the course of the year, it would seem owning a car is the right financial choice. However, for the economics to play out well, it's important to keep these key cost drivers in mind:

  1. It is recommended to buy used car as a new car has a much steeper depreciation in the first year, which is the largest cost associated with owning a car
  2. The car must be in good condition to avoid unanticipated repairs which could turn out to be costly
  3. The timeframe needs to be close to a year or more. Should you only need a car for a few months, owning becomes costlier.

Tip: The two critical cost advantages of owning a car: it needs to be a used car, so that VAT and the big initial depreciation can be avoided, and it needs to be in good condition.