The true cost of owning a vehicle

Average new vehicle will cost nearly $8,500 annually to own and operate

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Your annual driving cost to own and operate a motor vehicle could run you an average of $8,469, or $706 each month. That’s according to AAA’s 2017 Your Driving Cost study. 

The annual evaluation of driving costs reveals that small sedans are the least expensive vehicles to drive at $6,354 annually, however small SUVs ($7,606), hybrids ($7,687) and electric vehicles ($8,439) all offer lower-than-average driving costs to U.S. drivers. 

Of the nine categories included in the evaluation, pickup trucks are the most expensive vehicles to drive at $10,054 annually. 

"Keeping up with basic vehicle maintenance makes it possible to lower driving cost,” said Susan Hiltz, Michigan public affairs director, AAA. “Neglecting scheduled maintenance can damage a vehicle and leave drivers with expensive car repairs.”

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.

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) and small SUVs ($2,840) have the lowest annual depreciation costs, while minivans ($3,839) and electric vehicles ($5,704) are at the high end of the scale.

To calculate annual maintenance and repair costs, 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.

A recent AAA survey found that one-third of U.S. drivers could not afford an unexpected repair bill. 

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.

 

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, at under four cents per mile. Depreciation, however, is currently extremely high for these vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000 in value every year.

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