The first financial metric I like to use isn’t popular in the automotive community. It’s actual cash costs versus actual usage. Treating a car as an addiction might be the best way to visualize it. However, I prefer to account for my cars as a tool (it’s more comfortable that way). It really helps me to see profits and costs as business expenses. Cars, much like houses or healthcare, can easily get away from accounting since you’re paying so many billers in an unrelated fashion. I was frankly shocked by how expensive cars got to be once I put it all in one place. Accounting gets so complex, I prefer to set all this data into a spreadsheet. Google Sheets are good for that purpose. I’ll post up a sample for reference later on.
All costs are far worse if you’re only driving a car for a few thousand miles per year. Admittedly, insurance is necessary, but not worth the hit for low mileage cars. Professional mechanics are far fairer, since they’re usually worth their fees. Fuel taxes and licensing fees are highly regressive as-is, but they’re even worse if you don’t need a car for daily transport. They’re a ripoff if you’re only putting on a few thousand miles a year.