The content of this article is almost superfluous thanks to its helpful title.

Americans Would Pay Almost $5,000 More for a Self-Driving Car.

Specifically, it turns out, that the mean amount (extra) that Americans would spend for a fully autonomous car is $4,900 (there is a large variance). Here is the proper source.

In 2012 a new car was owned by the original owner an average of 5.95 years. This appears to be increasing so it is a conservative number to use.

According to this article the average American commute is 26 minutes each way. At 2 trips per day, 5 days a week, for 50 weeks a year, that comes out to around 216 hours per year or 1289 hours spent commuting during the average ownership of a new car.

This means, with the huge assumption that capitalism isn’t completely absurd, that Americans value their driving labor at about $3.80/hour. That’s not joy riding; that’s commuting!

According to KBB the new car average transaction price is now $34,372. The refund for used cars is around $18,600. This means that Americans who only use their cars to commute are spending $12.24 per hour of driving just to have the car. Even if you knock that in half by the assumption that the average driver spends half of their driving time doing other, presumably delightful, kinds of additional non-commuting driving, it is still a surprisingly large number given the fact that $3.80 is apparently too much for a chauffeur. What other wretched labor besides sitting in traffic are Americans willing to do for about half of minimum wage?

If Americans love compulsory driving so much, why do Uber drivers need to be paid around $12 per hour? Shouldn’t there be a huge pool of people who would be delighted to do the job for half that?

Have I miscalculated something? If so, then I obviously don’t know what to think about this. But even if the numbers are correct, I still don’t know what to think of this.