April 07, 2016|
Low Gas Prices Driving Down Overall Costs for Motorists
MADISON, Wisc. (April 7, 2016 ) — American drivers’ annual cost to operate a motor vehicle has fallen to a six-year low of $8,558 according to AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Cost study. This year, a driver can expect to spend 57 cents for each mile driven, approximately $713 per month, to cover the fixed and variable costs associated with owning and operating a car.
"Motorists are definitely benefiting from lower prices at the pump,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA Wisconsin. “While some of those savings have been off-set by increases in other vehicle related expenses, there should be enough left over to provide most people with a nice bonus.”
AAA factors in a variety of expenses including fuel, insurance, depreciation, licensing, registration, and taxes.
AAA has published Your Driving Costs since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.
- Fuel: DOWN 24.62 percent to 8.45 cents per mile/$1,267.50 per year (-$414).
- Compared to last year’s study, the average price of regular fuel fell more than 25 percent to $2.139 per gallon in the fourth quarter. At the same time, vehicle redesigns and improved powertrain technologies increased the average fuel economy of the sedans used in the study to 26.71 mpg.
- Insurance: UP 9.60 percent to $1,222 per year (+$107).
- Insurance rates vary widely by driver, driving habits, issuing company, geographical area and more. While AAA’s insurance cost estimates are based on low-risk drivers with good driving records, even this group has seen rates rise over the past few years. Rising costs are likely attributable to lower gas prices, which have resulted in more miles driven, greater numbers of collisions and higher insurance payouts.
- Depreciation: UP 2.87 percent to $3,759 per year (+$105).
- The single largest ownership expense, depreciation, rose for 2016 due to robust new-car sales and, therefore, increasing numbers of used and off-lease vehicles entering the marketplace. This reduces retained value and resale prices, thus increasing depreciation.
- Maintenance: UP 3.33 percent to 5.28 cents per mile/$792 per year (+$25 per year).
- While there is significant variation among individual vehicles, modest increases in vehicle maintenance are attributable to engines requiring more expensive semi- or full-synthetic motor oils. There were also increases in extended warranty pricing and shop labor rates.
- A recent AAA survey found that 35 percent of Americans have skipped or delayed service or repairs that were recommended by a mechanic or specified by the factory maintenance schedule. According to AAA’s certified Approved Auto Repair shops, consumers that forget or ignore recommended maintenance ultimately pay higher repair costs.
- License/Registration/Taxes: UP 3.31 percent to $687 per year (+$22).
- License, registration and tax costs are impacted by vehicle sales prices and state/local tax rates. In addition to rising vehicle prices, many states, counties and cities have increased their fees related to vehicle purchasing, titling, registration and licensing.
- Finance Charges: UP 2.09 percent to $683 per year (+$14).
- The average vehicle finance rate remained relatively unchanged in 2016. The modest dollar increase in finance charges is attributable to higher new car prices combined with increased tax, title, license and registration fees, which are typically rolled into the vehicle financing.
- Tires: UP 2.04 percent to 1.00 cent per mile/$150 per year (+$3).
- Due to the competitive and dynamic nature of the tire market, tire costs in 2016 are relatively unchanged, rising by just .02 cent per mile.
The Your Driving Costs study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary. See AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Costs brochure for a list of vehicles and additional information on the underlying criteria used in the study.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to over 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 56 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
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