AAA has just released its 2013 “Your Driving Costs” study, giving motorists a realistic snapshot of the true costs of owning and operating a motor vehicle.
According to this year’s study, the national average cost to put a vehicle on the road is up nearly two percent from last year, based on 15,000 miles of driving. This translates to $9,122 per year, an increase of about $176 from last year.
“Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs made up the bulk of the increase, resulting in an average cost of just over 60 cents a mile.”
The following factors shaped the cost of vehicle ownership/operation for 2013:
• UNCHANGED: The cost of tires did not change from 2012 to 2013, remaining at one cent per mile on average. A leveling off of raw materials, energy and transportation costs can be attributed to tire price stabilization.
• HIGHER: The cost associated with vehicle maintenance had the single largest percentage increase from 2012 to 2013, growing more than 11 percent to 4.97 cents per mile. Driving this increase is significant increases in labor and part costs for some models as well as a major increase in the price of some extended warranty policies.
• HIGHER: Gasoline prices were relatively stable compared to the prior year, leading to a minimal fuel cost increase just shy of two percent to 14.45 cents per gallon. The average cost of regular grade fuel actually rose 3.8 percent. Improvements in fuel economy ratings helped to offset this increase.
• HIGHER: Average insurance costs for sedans rose 2.8 percent to an average annual cost of $1,029 per driver. However, it is important to note that rates vary depending on the vehicle, driver, driving habits, and geographical region.
• HIGHER: After dropping in 2012, depreciation rose slightly in 2013, increasing 0.8 percent to $3,571 a year. This change may be a consequence of recovering new vehicle sales, resulting in more used cars available in the marketplace and thus the softening of the resale value of clean older models.
“If you commute by car, figure about $61 in total vehicle expenses per 100 miles,” Mai said. “If that seems like a lot, consider driving a more fuel-efficient model or using a transportation alternative, like carpooling or public transportation.”
As a go-to automotive resource, AAA can help drivers find the cheapest fuel prices, suggest ways to stretch fuel dollars and find competitive insurance rates. For more information, visit AAA.com.
The 2013 edition of “Your Driving Costs” is available for download and includes a worksheet to help motorists determine their automotive expenses, based on their personal driving habits. AAA has published “Your Driving Costs” since 1950, when driving a car 10,000 miles annually cost nine cents per mile and a gallon of gasoline cost 27 cents.