Study Shows Driving
Costs Average 52.2 Cents Per Mile
consumers determined to know how much they are paying
to drive their vehicle can look to AAA for assistance.
The 2006 edition of Your Driving Costs study
shows 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.
AAA reports that 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 9.5 cents per
mile (the fuel price information is based on data from
AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.)
The study reports the retail price of tires is 0.7 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 also factored in.
AAA estimates the average new car will depreciate $3,392
per year of ownership. Full insurance coverage will
average $926 per year. Routine maintenance — including
the manufacturer's recommended normal service operations
— is estimated to cost 4.9 cents per mile, or $552.
Annual finance charges, computed on a national average
basis, are estimated at $716 this year. The finance
numbers are based on a five-year loan at 6 percent interest
with a 10 percent down payment.
updating methodology to better reflect costs associated
with a wider range of vehicles, AAA's 2006 estimate
isn't directly comparable to the data of previous years.
The study continues, however, to calculate the average
costs of all expenses associated with owning and operating
vehicles over five years and 75,000 miles of driving.
AAA now calculates those costs based on averages for
five top-selling passengers cars (including imports)
in each of three vehicle size categories, rather than
on one representative vehicle as in the past.
The purpose of AAA's annual study is to show consumers
how to understand and calculate the full costs of owning
and operating their vehicles. Only by factoring in all
of the related costs of driving can consumers accurately
budget for their future expenses. AAA's driving cost
figures are not intended for use by businesses in the
reimbursement of employee driving expenses.
"AAA's research shows that driving a new vehicle
that retains a high resale value and has moderate insurance
costs, can help offset other costs such as fuel and
tires," said John Nielsen, director of AAA Approved
Auto Repair and Car Buying Services. "Selecting
a model that is more fuel efficient than others in its
size-class, also will help consumers contain their driving
To conduct its study, AAA used detailed driving costs
for small, medium, and large sedans. Driving costs in
each category are based on the average costs for five
top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category,
Small Sedan — Chevrolet
Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota
Medium Sedan — Chevrolet
Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and
Large Sedan — Buick
Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Five Hundred, Nissan Maxima
and Toyota Avalon.
Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and
minivan information is also included in Your Driving
Costs to help buyers estimate operating costs for these
types of vehicles. Selected models include:
SUVs — Chevrolet
Trailblazer, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan
Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.
Minivans — Chevrolet
Uplander, Dodge Caravan, Ford Freestar, Honda Odyssey
and Toyota Sienna.
can obtain copies of AAA's Your Driving Costs from many
AAA club offices and on the Internet at www.aaa.com/publicaffairs.
As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel
organization, AAA provides its more than 49 million
members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related
services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit,
fully-tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate
for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs
can be visited on the Internet at: http://www.aaa.com
. National and state by state, daily retail fuel prices
are available at www.aaafuelgaugereport.com.