Journalist commentary on data published by industry stakeholders.
This study evaluated estimates from universities, manufacturers, and consulting firms regarding the ownership and operating costs of autonomous vehicle fleets. The analysis considered current technology and the associated ownership and operating costs, and compared them to the estimates in the future.
Below is a preliminary list of estimates of the cost per mile of operating autonomous vehicles. The authors noted that it is difficult to make direct comparisons between these estimates, because they not only employ different assumptions, but also forecast costs for different future years (with unstated assumptions about inflation). In addition, there is significant uncertainty regarding the categories of costs, and the future policy environment.
The findings varied substantially, but in general the estimates implied that fleets of autonomous vehicles could be owned and operated in the next decade or two for between 30 and 50 cents per mile which would be much cheaper than today’s cars.
- Ford (2016) expects to reduce the cost of highly automated vehicles (SAE Level 4) to about $1.00 per mile, making them highly competitive with taxis, which it estimates will cost $6.00 per mile.
- Rocky Mountain Institute (2016) estimates that in 2018, autonomous vehicle costs will be roughly competitive with current vehicles (about 84 cents per mile), but will steadily decline, to 51 cents per mile by 2025 and 33 cents per mile by 2035.
- Morgan Stanley (2016) estimates autonomous vehicles will cost about 50 cents per mile by 2030, compared to about 75 cents per mile for privately owned standard vehicles.
- KPMG (2016) estimates that current cars have a variable cost of 21 cents per mile and a fixed cost of 61 cents per mile for a total of 84 cents per mile. New shared AVs would cost 17 cents per mile variable, and 26 cents per mile fixed (43 cents per mile total).
- Deloitte (2016) estimates costs of 46 cents to as little as 31 cents per mile for autonomous vehicles. The latter estimate corresponds to a low-speed purpose built pod car.
- Barclay’s (2016) estimates the cost of autonomous vehicles at 29 cents per mile by 2040, compared to about 66 cents per mile for conventional, privately owned vehicles today.
- Columbia University Earth Institute (2013) estimates the cost of an autonomous vehicle would be about 41 cents per mile for full-sized vehicles and could be as little as 15 cents per mile for purpose-built low speed vehicles. This compares to a cost of 59 to 75 cents per mile for conventional privately owned automobiles.
Current autonomous vehicle ownership and opearting costs:$0.66 to $1.00 per mile (2018) Future autonomous vehicle ownership and opearting costs: $0.30 to $0.50 cents per mile (2035)