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How Much You Really Spend to Drive Each Year

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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.