Annual car ownership costs are increasing, according to AAA study

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 7, 2011

It’s now 3.4% more expensive to own and operate a sedan in the U.S., according to the results of the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study that AAA releases each year. Based on 15,000 miles of annual driving, the average expenses increased by 1.9 cents per mile to 58.5 cents per mile, amounting to $8,776 each year.

John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying and Consumer Programs, said that even if maintenance and insurance costs dropped this year, there is an overall rise in the costs this year to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S.

Nielsen said that the increase in costs in 2011 is attributed to the “relatively large” rises in fuel, tire and depreciation costs and the “more moderate” increases in other areas. The type of cost that had the highest percentage increase is on tires, going up as high as 15.7% to 0.96 cents per mile on average for sedan owners.

In recent years just as in 2011, there have been price increases in raw materials, energy and transportation. Tire costs are also now up on average because of a trend by automakers to install premium grade tires on their sedans as original equipment.

The fuel economy in several vehicles included in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had improved but this was not enough to offset the rise in gas prices, resulting to the increase in fuel costs by 8.6% to 12.34 cents per mile on average for sedans. It was in December 2010 that AAA started the 2011 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study.

Fuel costs were calculated when the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline was $2.88 per gallon. Nielsen explained that the study is intended to come up with an overview of the annual costs related to owning and operating a vehicle.

Nielsen said that at various points in the year, some of the costs may fluctuate tremendously such as with the fuel price in February but he asserted that these figures may still be used to compare categories of vehicles.

Topics: united states

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