SOURCE: Auto Club of Southern California
April 04, 2008 04:00 ET
AAA Reports That Cost of Owning & Operating a New Vehicle Is Now 54.1 Cents per Mile
Auto Club Offers 2008 Edition of "Your Driving Costs" at Local Offices Next Week
LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - April 4, 2008) - The Automobile Club of Southern
California's 2008 edition of "Your Driving Costs" shows the cost of driving
a passenger vehicle in the United States has increased 1.9 cents per mile
in the last year and now averages 54.1 cents per mile.
"While the cost of some driving expenses declined since the start of 2007,
higher gasoline prices have more than offset these savings and pushed the
overall cost of vehicle ownership and operation higher this year," said the
Auto Club's Automotive Research Center Manager Steve Mazor. In 2008, AAA
estimates it will cost $8,121 to own and operate a new passenger car driven
15,000 miles per year. This compares to $7,823 per year in 2007; or 52.2
cents per mile.
Costs for maintenance, full-coverage insurance; and depreciation are all
slightly lower this year. While costs for fuel, tires, financing, license,
registration and taxes showed increases.
AAA's study calculates the average costs of owning and operating five
top-selling models in three popular size classes: small, medium and large
sedans. The results clearly show that consumers have an opportunity to save
substantial sums of money by switching from larger models to smaller
For example, AAA's research shows the annual average cost of driving a
small sedan is $6,320 per year, while a large sedan costs $9,769 per year.
Similar savings can be realized by driving a minivan, instead of a larger
and less-fuel efficient sport utility vehicle (SUV). AAA estimates the
annual expense of owning and operating a typical minivan at $8,644 per year
versus $10,448 for a four-wheel-drive mid-size SUV.
Southern California driving costs are higher than the national average in
nearly all driving cost categories because of higher insurance, maintenance
and gasoline costs, according to Mazor.
"Consumers are looking at a more than $28,000 average price tag to buy a
new car," he said. "New vehicles usually come with higher insurance premium
costs, vehicle registrations and greater depreciation which add to the
overall cost of operating a car."
AAA's study calculates the average costs of all expenses associated with
owning and operating a vehicle over five years and 75,000 miles of driving.
Driving costs in each category are based on the average expenses for five
top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category they are:
-- Small sedan - Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra
and Toyota Corolla.
-- Medium Sedan - Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan
Altima and Toyota Camry.
-- Large Sedan - Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima
and Toyota Avalon.
Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and minivan information
has been included to help buyers estimate operating costs for these types
of vehicles. SUV models include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Explorer,
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner. Minivan models
are the Chevrolet Uplander, Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey
and Toyota Sienna.
The calculated driving costs in the brochure include: finance charges and
license fees incurred with car payments, depreciation, insurance, gasoline,
maintenance and tires. Paid off used cars, by comparison, have much lower
depreciation and insurance costs -- reducing their driving costs by about
The brochure also contains a worksheet that can help a vehicle owner to
calculate their own vehicle ownership and operating costs. This knowledge
can help motorists make informed choices about their vehicle selection and
use, according to Mazor.