There are numerous costs associated with owning a vehicle. Some of these costs are often overlooked, and car owners end up spending more money on their cars than they had planned.
Here are more details about the average cost of owning a vehicle and how to calculate your own.
What is the average cost of owning a vehicle?
According to a study by the
American Automobile Association(AAA), the national average cost of owning and operating a vehicle in 2021 is around $9,666. This includes costs for buying a car and for maintenance.
The study provides comprehensive driving costs for nine vehicle categories: sedan, SUV, pickup truck, hybrid, and electric vehicle. Each category consists of its five top-selling 2021 models selected by AAA.
How did AAA determine the average cost of car ownership?
AAA uses a proprietary formula to determine the cost of owning a new car in the U.S. The association adopted the formula back in 1950, and since then, they have been publishing "Your Driving Costs" studies. When AAA started conducting these studies, the average cost of driving a car for 10,000 miles was 9 cents per mile.
This methodology has changed over time, making it hard to compare the current costs with those from previous years. The vehicles used in the study are the most popular in the market. They all have standard features and add-ons such as cruise control, automatic transmission, and power steering, among others.
The most expensive vs. cheapest cars to drive
AAA breaks down the cost of owning and operating vehicles in different categories based on depreciation, taxes, registration, maintenance, and insurance. According to the study, the most expensive vehicles to own and operate in 2021 are
crew cab pickups. The report showed that the average annual cost of owning this type of vehicle is $13,332.
The second most expensive vehicles to own and operate are medium SUVs with four-wheel drive, at an average annual cost of $11,381. The cheapest vehicles to own and operate in 2021 are small sedans with a total cost per year of $8,249. Most of the other vehicle categories have a total cost per year of $9,000 to $10,000.
AAA's new interactive tool helps you find your own driving costs
You can use the AAA interactive tool to find out your gas cost per mile for a gas-powered or electric vehicle. You start by recording the mile reading on your odometer after the first fill-up.
The difference in numbers between the first fill-up and the next one will help you determine your average miles per gallon and the cost of gas per mile. It’s important to note that most electric cars rates will vary between different states and where you charge.
There are a lot of expenses associated with car ownership. Knowing your driving costs is essential as it helps you keep track of your expenditures. It also helps you make informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle.
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