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Toronto startup PriceMyRide.com lets car buyers in on the cost of ownership

Users add in personal details so an algorithm can sift through data and determine how much a specific car model will cost them. The kicker – none of the founders own a car.

Published June 26, 2012
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Before you pimp your ride, you might want to see how much owning it will cost you in the first place.

But between insurance, gas, distance traveled and whether one drives on city streets or the 401, it can be complicated to determine exactly how much a vehicle will cost each month.

Toronto startup PriceMyRide.com wants to make that calculation easy with its free web-based service.

It’s an information resource that we really felt should exist,” said co-founder Kuhan Puvanesasingham.

“If you’re really in the market for a car, it’s almost silly not to cost it out.”

Price My Ride lets users adjust personal details, for free, so an algorithm can sift through data and determine how much a specific car model will cost them, Puvanesasingham explained.

A lot of the website’s beta users were “pretty surprised” with what they found out when they tested the service, he said.

“They didn’t know how much they spent on gas alone,” he said, adding others might have been surprised to find out that cars known for fuel economy might not save them money unless they drive a lot.

More than 20,000 cars are available in the system which attracts a few thousand unique visitors each month, he said. The website, which launched in December, is more about budgeting than knowledge of the car industry, he added.

While other services may provide generic estimates on insurance costs, this is the first that personalizes the results and considers other variables such as lease payments, he said.

The site “isn’t perfect yet, it doesn’t account for depreciation or variable maintenance costs,” but Puvanesasingham’s team plans to roll out those services by the end of the year, he said.

A former actuarial analyst for a big insurance company, the co-founder hopes to monetize the business through partnerships with insurance companies and local dealers. For example, if the red Honda you wanted to buy was in your price range, you could click on a list of places to go to buy it locally.

Yet the service paints a picture of costs so accurate that it might inspire people to avoid buying a car altogether. None of the six people on the Price My Ride team own a car, Puvanesasingham said.

“We know how much it costs to drive,” he said. “We support Autoshare, take transit, walk or bike.”

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