Cost of Car Ownership Dipped in 2013: Study

Cars are expensive any way you take them: Broken ones need to be fixed and fixed ones don’t come cheap. But the costs to own a car actually dropped in 2013 according to the results of a new study.

AAA released its annual “Your Driving Costs” study today and the results indicate that on average, driving was 1.64 cents per mile less expensive in 2013 than a year earlier. That’s a 2.7 percent drop to 59.2 cents per mile or an average of $8,876 per year. The figure assumes 15,000 miles of driving per year and takes a long list of variable operating costs into consideration. They include – deep breath – fuel, tires, registration, taxes and finance charges, maintenance and repair as well as insurance, license and registration fees.

Maintenance and registration fees were actually more expensive on average last year, but relatively cheap gas in the fourth quarter helped drag the average down. In fact, the study says average fuel costs fell by over 10 percent to an average 13 center per mile. As we draw nearer to the U.S. government’s 54.5 MPG mandate in 2025, cars are using less fuel to travel the same distance. On average, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $3.28 last year, which is 21 cents less than in 2012.

Of course, your costs depend directly on the type of vehicle you drive as well as other factors. The study offers a breakdown by vehicle type to offer a more applicable picture to individual owners. These are the average cost figures broken down by vehicle type:

  • 46.4 cents per mile and $6,957 per year for a small sedan
  • 58.9 cents per mile and $8,839 per year for a medium-size sedan
  • 72.2 cents per mile and $10,831 per year for a large sedan
  • 73.6 cents per mile and $11,039 per year for a four-wheel-drive SUV
  • 65 cents per mile and $9,753 per year for a minivan