Can you really afford that car?

Amit Ajwani just co-founded, a free new website that calculates monthly car costs. Ironically, the recent Carleton international business grad doesn’t own a car. (Daniel Reid Photo)

How much does it cost to own a car in Canada? crunches the numbers for you … and you might not like what you find out.

Owning a car can be expensive. That’s why Amit Ajwani doesn’t.

That might not be remarkable for most young entrepreneurs – big on ideas but tight on cash flow — but it’s a bit of a different story for Ajwani, who just co-founded, a free new website that calculates monthly car costs. You’d naturally assume he’d have the inside edge on the best possible deals. Or maybe he’d pull up to interviews in his swanky new luxury sedan with leather seats and tinted windows.

Instead, he admits to preferring public transit.

That’s because, for most city dwellers, owning a car just doesn’t make sense, says the recent Carleton international business grad. Between fuel costs, insurance policies, monthly payments and general maintenance, cars can be downright expensive, even unaffordable.

“Our site might actually discourage people from buying cars,” says Ajwani, who zips around on his motorcycle when the weather’s nice. “The more time you spend thinking about this, you realize it’s counter-intuitive.”

That’s where comes in. Based on your age and sex, the site determines your rough insurance rate, allows you to input your average monthly usage, choose from a database of 20,000 possible vehicles and crunches everything together to tell you how much of you can expect to pay on a monthly basis. Or maybe, how much you’d prefer not to pay.

You’re then able to do direct comparisons with other vehicles.

Shopping for cars is a big deal for Canadians, says Ajwani. We tend to buy a new one every four to five years and people can often spend up to a month doing research, getting insurance quotes and visiting dealerships.

The whole process is messy; almost “intentionally messy,” says Ajwani. puts everything together in one place.

The best part of all? It’s free.

“(We let you) take a minute to cost it out before you make a decision,” he says, away from the scornful eye of your local car dealer.

Right now, the website is focusing on the Canadian market but Ajwani, who studied Mandarin at Carleton, has his sights set on Chinese car shoppers.

“It’s a price sensitive market not typically targeted,” he says.

If that plan works, Ajwani might as well forget about buying his first car. He might be in the market for a jet instead.

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Daniel Reid

By Daniel Reid

Whether it’s scientific breakthroughs, political manoeuvres or loaded technical jargon, Daniel Reid loves to untangle complex ideas to make them accessible to everyone. He is currently an editor at @newsrooms and is a former web editor at @CTVNews and homepage editor at @TheLoopCA. You can argue with him on Twitter at @ahatrack.

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