Cost Comparison: Transport v Car

Cost Comparison: Transport v Car

During our recent car hire experience, I crunched some numbers during and after to set up a cost comparison: Transport v Car.

Hopefully its useful for some people….to find out, lets take a dive into the numbers!

I’ve listed final fees in Euros and AUD as some of the charges were straight onto a credit card and I couldn’t find those receipts with the original Euro amounts. Also, the AUD conversion could be handy for my peeps back home!

First up is the car; hire fees all paid to Hertz, fuel costs, tolls fees and parking fees. Few things I want to mention as well for future Spanish or Portuguese road conquerors:

  • Main point with car expenses: I totalled the expenses and we travelled as 2 people. So the real per person cost should be divided by 2.
  • Our car was diesel, the cheapest fuel option in Europe. Most hire cars will be diesel no matter the size. Spain was generally between €1.05 and €1.15 per litre. Gibraltar was actually the cheapest option at about £0.78 per litre (equates in Euros to approx. €0.88 per litre). Portugal ran about €1.29 per litre.
  • Both times I filled up the car in small towns in Spain, the shop attendant ran out and filled up for me! They ask if you want completa? As in, ‘do you want it full?’ Don’t worry they don’t charge this service as extra nor do you need to tip unless you feel like it!
  • If you want more in-depth info on tolls in Portugal, check out my other post about it here.
  • Any parking cost under €10 is on-street parking and frankly a miracle in Spain!

 

Car Hire Fees € EUR $ AUD
Hertz – per day rental (2 weeks, 5 days) € 269.17 $403.76
Hertz – Premium Location Fee (Malaga Airport) € 40 $60.00
Hertz – One Way Fee (Pickup Malaga – Dropoff Bilbao) € 45 $67.50
Hertz – SuperCover (Full Insurance) € 264.83 $397.25
Hertz – Taxes (21%) € 129.99 $194.99
Total Car Hire Costs € 748.99 $1,123.49
Fuel Costs € EUR $ AUD
Fuel – Gibraltar (GBP) £ 23.84 $41.72
Fuel – Faro € 40.23 $60.35
Fuel – Lisbon to Porto € 56.92 $85.38
Fuel – A Coruna to Oviedo € 53.68 $80.53
Fuel – Mondonedo € 53.69 $80.54
Fuel – Vitoria Gazteiz € 47.76 $71.64
Fuel – Bilbao Airport € 14.58 $21.87
Total Fuel Costs € 290.71 $442.03
Toll Costs € EUR $ AUD
Portugal Tolls € 5.78 $8.67
Portugal Tolls € 15.52 $23.28
Tollcard Faro CTT € 20 $30.00
Portugal Tolls – Faro to Lisbon € 25.7 $38.55
Portugal Tolls – Lisbon Bridge € 3.85 $5.78
Spain Tolls – Vigo € 5.41 $8.12
Spain Tolls – Santiago € 3.62 $5.44
Spain Tolls – A Coruna € 5.38 $8.08
Tolls – Vitoria Gazteiz to Bilbao € 5.36 $8.04
Tolls – Bilbao to Logrono € 13.83 $20.75
Total Toll Costs € 104.47 $156.71
   
Parking Costs € EUR $ AUD
Parking – Cordoba € 0.9 $1.35
Parking – Gibraltar (GBP) £ 2 $3.50
Parking – Cadiz € 18 $27.00
Parking – Sevilla € 20 $30.00
Parking – Oviedo € 12 $17.94
Parking – Bilbao € 3 $4.50
Total Parking Costs €55.9 $84.29
Total Car Expenses € 1,200.07 $1,806.51

So, 3 week car journey. Total comes to €1200 or roughly $1800AUD. I wasn’t too shocked when I added it all up but I was more interested in how transport costs would compare for all the same journeys.

Again, a few things worth noting here:

  • Obviously we never actually took any of the below journeys. They are all hypothetical and I obtained the travel info and prices via GoEuro.com plus a few other random sites. Travel prices are therefore as up to date as possible.
  • Travel times can vary hugely between transport option and car. For example, Faro – Sagres takes about 1hr 30 mins by car while the best transport option I could find took almost 3 hours.
  • Additionally, sometimes a transport option just won’t be available. For example, on the La Rioja trip from Bilbao, it took us 1hr 30mins to reach the winery we visited. I couldn’t find a transport option that isn’t a guided tour on a bus! That costs at least €49 so thats what I’ve put in the table.
Route Taken On Car € EUR (Per Person) $ AUD (Per Person) Total Cost $AUD
Malaga – Cordoba € 10.25 $15.38 $30.75
Cordoba – Ronda € 23.45 $35.18 $70.35
Ronda – Gibraltar € 10.55 $15.83 $31.65
Gibraltar – Cadiz € 12.5 $18.75 $37.50
Cadiz – Sevilla € 13.4 $20.10 $40.20
Sevilla – Faro € 17 $25.50 $51.00
Faro – Lagos € 10 $15.00 $30.00
Lagos – Sagres € 3 $4.50 $9.00
Sagres – Faro € 13 $19.50 $39.00
Faro – Lisbon € 22.2 $33.30 $66.60
Lisbon – Sintra Round Trip € 4.3 $6.45 $12.90
Sintra Buses € 5.5 $8.25 $16.50
Lisbon – Porto € 18 $27.00 $54.00
Porto – Santiago de Compostela € 18.99 $28.49 $56.97
Santiago de Compostela – A Coruna € 6.1 $9.15 $18.30
A Coruna – Oviedo € 24.6 $36.90 $73.80
Oviedo – Gijon € 4.7 $7.05 $14.10
Oviedo – Bilbao € 19 $28.50 $57.00
La Rioja Day Tour € 49 $73.25 $146.50
Bilbao – Sopelana Beaches Return Ticket € 3.21 $4.82 $9.63
Total Transport Costs €288.75 $433.13 $866.25

OK now thats done. Which method wins: transport or car?

Judging by pure costs alone, by doing all the same journeys for those 3 weeks and not renting the car and using transport instead, you could save about €311.28 per person. Pretty neat.

However, I would urge you to consider the car rental decision not just on the cost but by the freedom of experience. Understandably the car is a travel luxury you can only afford for a while but it opens up much more opportunity to see what is normally more difficult via transport options.

Also, it could be possible to research cheaper parking methods or not take full insurance to reduce some of the car costs. Definitely if you’re willing to avoid toll roads, especially in Portugal you can sacrifice more time to save money. Now that I’ve laid out our experience and all the costs associated, it might help you to avoid some of these charges.

Again, if you were inspired by the numbers (you never know!), there’s a link to the Hertz online booking system. Any bookings provide us a small commission to keep churning out travel content!

Anyway, thats our experience and hopefully you found the post useful in some way. Let me know in the comments below! Feel free to ask questions below too or email me if you want more detailed info!

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