Report: Driving costs hit six-year low


Staff report



Low gas prices have dropped the average annual cost to own and operate a vehicle to a six-year low of $8,558, according to AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Costs study. At this rate, a driver can expect to spend 57 cents for each mile driven, or about $713 per month, to cover the fixed and variable costs of owning and operating a car.

Study Findings (based on driving 15,000 miles annually):

* Small Sedan: $6,579 per year / 43.86 cents per mile

* Medium Sedan: $8,604 per year / 57.36 cents per mile

* Large Sedan: $10,492 per year / 69.94 cents per mile

* Sedan Average: $8,558 per year / 57.05 cents per mile

* SUV (4WD): $10,255 per year / 68.37 cents per mile

* Minivan: $9,262 per year / 61.75 cents per mile

Last year the average yearly cost to own and operate a sedan was $8,698, or 58 cents per mile.

This information can help consumers make informed vehicle purchase decisions and budget for annual automotive expenses.

Cost Breakdown:

* Fuel*: DOWN 24.62 percent to 8.45 cents per mile/$1,267.50 per year (-$414). This is based on the average price of fuel in the fourth quarter of 2015, which was $2.14 a gallon nationally and $2.08 in Ohio. Fuel economy of sedans also improved to an average of 26.71 mpg.

* Insurance: UP 9.60 percent to $1,222 per year (+$107). While rates vary among drivers, rising insurance costs are likely due to lower gas prices resulting in more miles driven, greater numbers of collisions and higher insurance payouts.

* Depreciation: UP 2.87 percent to $3,759 per year (+105). The largest ownership expense rose due to robust new car sales, which have increased the number of used and off-lease vehicles entering the marketplace and reduced retained value and resale prices.

* Maintenance: UP 3.33 percent to 5.28 cents per mile/$792 per year (+$25 per year). More engines now require more expensive semi- or full-synthetic motor oils, and extended warranty prices and labor shop rates have increased.

* License/Registration/Taxes: UP 3.31 percent to $687 per year (+$22). These costs are impacted by vehicle sales prices and state/local tax rates.

* Finance Charges: UP 2.09 percent to $683 per year (+$14) due to higher new car prices, combined with increased tax, title, license and registration fees, which are typically rolled into vehicle financing.

* Tires: UP 2.04 percent to 1 cent per mile/$150 per year (+$3). The dynamic nature of the tire market helps keep tire prices relatively flat.

“Thanks to lower gas prices, American drivers can expect to save hundreds of dollars in fuel costs in 2016,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Fortunately this annual savings more than offsets the moderate increases in maintenance, insurance, finance charges and other costs.”

Staff report

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