In a Business Standard column, Sunita Narain talks about the hidden costs (much of it provided by the 'public' at large) of vehicle ownership. Here's one of them:
Cars do not only cost on the road. They also cost when they are parked. The fact is that personal vehicles are parked for roughly 90 per cent of the time and the land they occupy is costly. Cars occupy more space for parking than what we need to work in our office: 23 sq metres to park a car, against 15 sq meters to park a desk. My colleagues have estimated that the one million-odd cars in Delhi would take up roughly 11 per cent of the city's urban area. Green spaces in the city take up roughly the same.
This is the first time I'm linking to a column by Narain, so it's a good idea to note right here that she can also do some serious polemic:
We need to ask why economists, who normally rant about markets, the need for full cost pricing and removal of subsidies, never account for these costs in their calculations of growth. After all, the cold logic of the market, repeatedly cited when it comes to the meagre support given to farmers, should apply here as well. Could it be that our economists are so vertically integrated -- with mind and matter -- to the market that these distortions fail to catch their attention?