AAA: How much does car ownership really cost yearly?

Owning and operating a new vehicle in 2017 will cost a driver an average of nearly $8,500 annually, or $706 each month, according to a new study from AAA.

The annual evaluation of driving costs reveals that small sedans are the least expensive vehicles to drive, however small SUVs, hybrids and electric vehicles all offer lower-than-average driving costs to U.S. drivers.

In addition to analyzing the ownership costs for sedans, SUVs and minivans, AAA’s Your Driving Costs study added four new vehicle segments in 2017 - small SUVs, pickup trucks, hybrids and electric vehicles.

Vehicle Type

Annual Cost*

Vehicle Type

Annual Cost*

Small Sedan

$6,354

Minivan

$9,146

Small SUV

$7,606

Large Sedan

$9,399

Hybrid

$7,687

Medium SUV

$9,451

Medium Sedan

$8,171

Pickup Truck

$10,054

Electric Vehicle

$8,439

Average

$8,469

*Based on 15,000 miles driven annually

 

As an automotive resource, AAA highlights key factors that shape the cost of vehicle ownership for 2017:

Depreciation
Depreciation is the biggest, and most often overlooked, expense associated with purchasing a new car. New vehicles lose an average of $15,000 in value during the first five years of ownership. In 2017, small sedans ($2,114) had the lowest annual depreciation costs, while electric vehicles ($5,704) were at the high end of the scale.

Maintenance and repair
AAA examined factory-recommended maintenance, replacement tires, extended warranty costs and services associated with typical wear-and-tear. New vehicles, on average, will cost a driver $1,186 per year to maintain and repair.

Fuel
Fuel costs vary significantly by vehicle type, ranging from 3.68 cents per mile (electric vehicles) to 13.88 cents per mile (pickup trucks). New vehicle owners, on average, will spend just over 10 cents per mile – about $1,500 annually -- to fuel their vehicles.

Electric Vehicles
AAA found that electric vehicles have lower-than-average driving costs at $8,439 per year. Without a gasoline engine to maintain, electric vehicles have the lowest annual maintenance and repair costs, at $982 per year. By relying on electricity instead of gasoline, fuel costs are also significantly lower than average. Depreciation, however, is currently extremely high for these vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000 in value every year.

While driving costs vary widely based on vehicle type, usage and driver behavior, there are several ways consumers can reduce their annual driving costs:

  • Minimize depreciation costs by purchasing a vehicle that historically holds its value well, or consider a used vehicle.
  • Select a less expensive vehicle, or one with higher fuel economy to help offset costs.
  • Shop around for the best rates on insurance and loans.
  • Stay on top of preventative maintenance and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • Reduce mileage and minimize wear and tear by participating in a carpool, taking public transportation or using a car share service. 


AAA’s Your Driving Costs study employs a proprietary methodology to analyze the costs of owning and operating a new vehicle in the United States, using data from a variety of sources, including Vincentric LLC. Additional information and detailed driving costs, including insurance costs, finances charges, registration/license fees, taxes and finance charges can be found at AAA.com/YourDrivingCosts[aaa.com].

 

 

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