Motorists Spend 54 Cents Per Mile, AAA Says

AAA’s 2009 edition of “Your Driving Costs” shows the average cost of owning and operating a new car in the U.S. has remained relatively unchanged despite lower fuel costs. The average cost for a new sedan driven 15,000 miles per year is 54 cents per mile, only 0.1 cent less than reported in 2008.
“While motorists are experiencing relief at the pump, those savings have been countered by revised U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates and increases in vehicle ownership costs such as insurance premiums, depreciation, finance charges and other fees and taxes,” said AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai.
— New sedan costs average $8,095 yearly
AAA estimates the cost to own and operate a typical new sedan driven 15,000 miles yearly is $8,095, only $26 less than last year’s estimated cost of $8,121. Small sedan costs were unchanged at 42.1 cents per mile, or $6,312 annually. Medium sedan costs dropped 1.1 cents per mile to 54.0, or $8,105 per year, thanks to maintenance cost savings and lower depreciation. However the costs for large sedans rose 0.7 cents per mile to 65.8, or $9,870 yearly, due largely to increased depreciation.
— SUV costs drop, minivan’s jump
SUV owners, whose vehicles get lower fuel economy, benefitted most from the drop in fuel prices. Their estimated ownership and operating costs dipped 1.3 cents per mile to 68.4 cents, or $10,259 per year, despite a relatively large increase in depreciation and insurance premiums. Meanwhile, minivan costs jumped 1.2 cents per mile to 58.8 cents, or $8,815 yearly. The growth is due to cost increases in every area except fuel and included the largest rise in depreciation of any vehicle class.
— New EPA baselines provide better “real world” results
AAA’s 2009 edition of “Your Driving Costs” uses the EPA’s revised fuel-economy estimates, which are intended to better reflect “real world” results.
“AAA was a strong advocate for updating the EPA’s guidelines for calculating fuel economy so new car buyers could have a realistic estimate of a vehicle’s miles per gallon before their purchase,” Mai said. “The ability to use estimates more closely based on ‘real world’ conditions has made ‘Your Driving Costs’ a much more relevant consumer tool.”

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