August 29, 2002

Montreal, Halifax and Toronto most costly cities to operate a vehicle

Toronto, Ontario – Montreal, Halifax, and Toronto are the most expensive places in Canada to own and operate a typical mid-size vehicle, according to the latest analysis by Runzheimer International, a Toronto-based management consulting firm.

Driving a typical mid-size car, represented by a Ford Taurus 4-door sedan, in the Montreal area costs nearly $11,000 per year with Halifax and Toronto not far behind in second and third place (see Table).

Expenses include operating costs: fuel, oil, tires, and maintenance; and ownership costs: insurance, depreciation, license & registration fees, taxes, and financing.

In sharp contrast, driving this same vehicle in Edmonton cost the owner only slightly over $9,000, a difference of over $1,800 between the most and least expensive locations.

“For the individual driver, it is helpful to know what your yearly vehicle expenses are so you can establish an annual budget and plan accordingly,” says Cameron Davidson, Toronto-based Runzheimer consultant. “For companies that reimburse dozens or even hundreds of employees who operate their personal vehicles on business, establishing accurate driving costs becomes crucial.”

The three highest cost cities all share one common liability – high auto insurance rates. Montreal rates for liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance (“business use” classification, principal operator over age 25, clean driving record) are nearly $1,800 annually; Halifax rates are nearly $1,900; and Toronto is over $2,000. In contrast, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Calgary are much lower per annum for the same coverage.

Maintenance costs also vary. Assuming normal service and maintenance on a vehicle driven 96,000 kilometres over four years, these costs can range from a high of 3.98 cents-per- kilometre in Vancouver, to a low of 2.68 cents-per-kilometre in Charlottetown.

Even license and vehicle registration fees play a role. Drivers in Montreal pay $255 a year; those in Edmonton and Calgary only $53.

Ranking of selected cities from most expensive to least expensive:

  1. Montreal, PQ
  2. Halifax, NS
  3. Toronto, ON
  4. St. John’s, NF
  5. Moncton, NB
  6. Ottawa, ON
  7. Vancouver, BC
  8. Charlottetown, PE
  9. Regina, SK
  10. Calgary, AB
  11. Winnipeg, MB
  12. Edmonton, AB

Runzheimer based its rankings are based on a 2002 Ford Taurus SE 3.0 litre, 6-cylinder, 4-door sedan equipped with automatic transmission with overdrive, power steering, power disc brakes, tinted glass, AM-FM stereo, speed control, air conditioning, engine block heater, heavy-duty battery, driver’s air bag, and anti-lock brakes. Costs include operating costs: fuel, oil, tires, and maintenance; and fixed costs: insurance, depreciation, taxes, license & registration fees, and financing. Factors are based on 4-year/96,000 kilometre retention cycle. Vehicles are driven within an 80-kilometre radius of the city. All costs are calculated in Canadian dollars.

Runzheimer International is the Toronto-based management consulting firm specializing in travel and living costs. Its web-site is

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