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A report by AAA suggests that we will spend an average $9,122 on our cars this year – an increase of nearly 2 percent over 2012, about the rate of inflation.
Costs vary widely, of course, depending on what and where you drive and the ups-and-downs of fuel prices. But the typical sedan owner who clocks 15,000 miles a year should budget 60.8 cents a mile, according to the latest annual “Your Driving Costs” study from AAA.
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“Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase” of about 1.17 cents a mile compared to the 2012 study.
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Now in its 63rd year, the study did have some good news. After rising sharply in recent years due to increased raw material prices, the cost of replacement tires was unchanged from 2012 to 2013. Depreciation costs rose by just 0.78 percent. Considering the price for a new vehicle, that adds up to $3,571 for your average sedan.
As you’ve likely noticed, fuel costs have been leveling off and even dropping in recent weeks. The AAA study factors in steadily improving fuel economy and estimates 14.45 cents a mile in gas for your typical sedan. That’s a modest 1.93 percent increase over last year.
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Insurance costs are expected to rise 2.76 percent, to an average $1,029 annually – although that can “vary widely vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region,” AAA says.
The biggest increase, according to the Your Driving Costs study: Maintenance and repairs, which are expected to jump by 11.26 percent from last year, to 4.97 cents a mile. Expect big increases in both parts and labor – and you’ll likely pay a lot more this year for extended warranty policies, as well.
What are you likely to spend to own and operate other types of vehicles?
· Small sedans will average 46.4 cents a mile, or $6,967 for all of 2013.
· Midsize sedans jump to 61.0 cents a mile, or $9,151.
· Large sedans will average 75.0 cents a mile, or $11,248.
· An all-wheel drive SUV will cost 77.3 cents a mile, or $11,599.
· Minivans will average 65.3 cents a mile, or $9,795.
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The AAA has been compiling its driving costs study since 1950 – when gasoline averaged 27 cents a gallon. That year, motorists drove 10,000 miles, on average, at 9 cents a mile – for an annual car ownership cost of $900, which may seem like a bargain, but that’s $8,468 adjusted for inflation.