The overall average cost of owning and operating a passenger vehicle is 52.2 cents per mile, which equals $7,834 per year based on 15,000 miles of driving, according to AAA’s 2006 version of its “Your Driving Costs” study. AAA’s study calculates the average costs of all expenses associated with owning and operating vehicles over five years and 75,000 miles of driving. To better reflect the costs associated with a wider range of vehicle choices, this year’s study calculated the costs based on averages for five top-selling passenger cars in each of three vehicle size categories, rather than on one representative vehicle in each category as in the past. Vehicles used for this year’s study include Chevrolet Cobalt, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Camry, Chrysler 300, and Buick Lucerne. Additional findings related to the study include: From the end of 2004 to the end of 2005, the average price of fuel increased to $2.405 per gallon; a 15.8 percent increase that raised the average driver’s fuel costs from 8.2 to 8.5 cents per mile.
Driving costs related to licensing, registration and taxes are $535 when “hidden” costs such as personal property and ad valorem taxes that are levied in many states are factored in.
Annual finance charges, computed on a national average basis, are estimated at $716 this year. The numbers are based on a five-year loan at six percent interest with a 10 percent down payment.
Full insurance coverage will average $926 per year.
The average new car will depreciate $3,392 per year of ownership, according to AAA estimates.