How Much You Really Spend to Drive Each Year

How Much You Really Spend to Drive Each Year

You might be surprised to learn what it actually costs on average to own a car.

There’s gas, insurance, maintenance and the actual purchase price to name a few, but the latest annual report by AAA is shedding light on what those costs add up to. The 2013 edition “Your Driving Costs” report is designed to give drivers a more accurate picture of what they spend to own a car including costs of ownership and depreciation.

Owning a mid-size sedan and driving 15,000 miles per year, for example, will cost about $9,000. SUVs cost even more and assuming the same distance, drivers will spend about $11,600. Downsizing your vehicle is an especially effective way to cut those costs. The difference between owning a small or mid-size vehicle adds up to about $2,000 each year and the same applies to further upsizing.

It might also be worth thinking twice before buying a new SUV rather than a minivan. According to AAA, driving a minivan will be roughly $1,800 less expensive each year over the course of 15,000 miles.

  • I’m driving for free about 50% of the time. My Chevy Volt is charged from our solar array.

  • Rickers

    Well aren’t you a superior human being.

  • Honest Abe

    Leave him alone Rickers. He makes a valid point. The Volt saves you money long term.

  • Just trying to lead by example. And yes, I save over $1000/year on operating costs with the Volt – not counting the free energy from my solar array. FMI:

  • Mick

    I only drive less than 10,000 kilometers a year and do my own work on my car which saves me a lot and my insurance is only about $750 a year for full coverage.

  • Mick

    but how much does it cost over a regular gas car and do you know what resources and processes it takes to make those batteries?

  • Rickers, I had no intention to be superior. I am just a guy who is deeply committed to sustainability and leaving the world a better place and modeling the change I want to see in the world.

    I have a whole web page devoted to my Chevy Volt with lots of detailed statistics about charging and comparative energy use:

  • It’s not just about saving money for me – although I do save over $1000/year in gas. As someone who is passionate about living sustainably, it’s about my carbon footprint and leaving the world a better place for future generations. So, yes, maybe I am a “superior human being” in some peoples eyes. I have no problem with that.

  • Jo

    That is a good mindset. But keep in mind that the batteries for these cars take a larger footprint to produce than conventional gas. Ecsoeacially since these are mined in china

  • Jo, everything involves trade-offs and we each have to choose ones in our comfort zone. One could wish for a simpler world of horses and carriages, but keep in mind that cities like London had to remove hundreds of TONS of horse excrement daily 100 years ago. Now they are limiting vehicular traffic in the city center. There is no perfect world.