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Property taxes vs. car costs

Annoyed that the city's property tax rate is twice as high as Baltimore County's? Bob Aydukovic with the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has a comeback: car costs.

He says AAA calculates the average annual cost of owning and using a car, assuming you drive it 15,000 miles a year, at just over $8,000. (The range is $6,300 for a small sedan and $10,500 for a mid-sized SUV, and it includes gas, maintenance, tires, insurance, payments and depreciation.)

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If you're part of a couple living in suburbia, you probably need two cars. But if you move somewhere where you can get rid of one car -- like, oh, say, downtown, he suggests -- then you save $8,000-plus a year on average.

"Owning two cars is almost a necessity in suburban locations, and therefore, it functions as a tax on suburban living," said Aydukovic, vice president of economic development with the Downtown Partnership. "It costs you a lot more than filling the tank every week. And I think people don't realize that."

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What I'd love to see is a calculation of all living costs. What's pricier in the city? What's more expensive in the 'burbs? Have you moved from one to the other lately and noticed a difference in your budget?

For that matter, have you moved closer to work (wherever that may be) to deal with gas costs?


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