The 62nd AAA “Your Driving Costs” study results have been released and the news is not pretty. Car ownership costs continue to rise to the tune of 1.9% per year, which currently averages out to $8,946 per year per vehicle owned. This increase is not only due to the ridiculous gas prices either, although that does factor in. Monthly payments, maintenance and insurance costs are also factored into the study. These costs are based on drivers who accumulate 15,000 miles per year. The $8,946 total is an average of the most popular vehicle models including compacts, sedans, SUVs and minivans.
John Nielsen, AAA director of Automotive Engineering and Repair state, “The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas. Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9 percent. Some driving costs fluctuate at different times during the year, such as what we have experienced with fuel prices since the middle of February. However, AAA’s use of a consistent methodology for its study allows an accurate comparison of driving costs from year to year, and the figures can reliably be used to compare different categories of vehicles.”
Nielsen also commented, “AAA understands that high fuel prices are a real concern for consumers, and those in the market for a new vehicle may want to be cautious and determine projected operational costs based on varying levels of fuels costs. To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle.”
Fuel costs are the most significant increase with gas prices spiking to a 14.8% increase. Other costs of owning a car up are also, but not as significantly. Compact cars are the lowest cost to own at around $6,735 per vehicle per year and four wheel drive SUVS are the most expensive at a whopping $11,360 per year.