AAA: Annual vehicle ownership costs hits cheapest rate in 6 years

An annual report from AAA says drivers can expect to spend 57 cents per miles driven this year.
An annual report from AAA says drivers can expect to spend 57 cents per miles driven this year. –AP

In its annual calculation of total cost of ownership, AAA found the costs to own and operate a vehicle have fallen to a six-year low thanks in large part to lower gas prices.

The AAA “Your Driving Costs’’ report found the annual cost to own and operate a typical sedan fell to $8,558 in 2016. Drivers can expect to spend about 57 cents per mile or about $713 per month to address the fixed costs of maintaining a car.

Less pain at the pump

Much of the savings for motorists can be traced back to lower gas prices. The study found the average cost of regular fuel dropped by 25 percent to $2.139 per gallon in the last quarter of 2015.

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AAA’s study found many vehicles have been redesigned with improved powertrain technologies that offer consumers improved fuel economies.

Assuming the vehicle travels 15,000 miles per year, AAA predicts motorists can expect to pay about 8.45 cents per mile or $1,267 during the course of the year. That amounts to a savings of $414 this year.

Meanwhile, several other factors associated with owning and maintaining a vehicle slightly increased. But John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair, points out in a statement that the annual savings from fuel cancels out the additional costs of other factors, such as insurance, maintenance, taxes and depreciation.

The study also found the cost to own larger vehicles, including SUVs and minivans is also down in 2016. SUV owners can expect to spend $10,255 or 68.37 cents per mile, while owners of minivans can expect to spend $9,262 or 61.75 cents per mile.

“One-in-five Americans plan to purchase or lease a new vehicle in the next year, and many consumers may mistakenly believe minivans are more expensive to drive than a large sedan,’’ said Nielsen. “With lower gas prices, these vehicles offer drivers the flexibility of transporting additional passengers and cargo while remaining more affordable to own and operate compared to a large sedan.’’

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AAA has published its “Your Driving Costs’’ since 1950 when driving a car 10,000 miles annually cost 9 cents per miles and gasoline was 27 cents per gallon.

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