What It Really Costs to Drive This Year
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you thought the price of health care is high, wait until you see how much it costs to drive your car or truck this year -- not the sticker price you paid to get behind the wheel, but the "driver costs" of maintenance, gas prices, insurance, deprecation and even what you pay for not having properly inflated tires.
"Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle," notes John Nielsen, AAA director of automotive engineering and repair. "This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile."
AAA estimates that the annual cost of driving your car rose 1.96% from last year. In dollar terms, the average price of owning a car rose by 1.17 cents, to 60.8 cents per mile. The total amount of owning a car in the U.S. according to AAA is $9,122 annually, up from $8,900.
The AAA figures, which are based on 15,000 miles of driving each year, vary by the size of your vehicle.For example, the annual average cost per mile of driving a small sedan is 46.4 cents, compared with 61 cents for a medium sedan and 75 cents for a large sedan. SUVs are more costly, at 77 cents per mile, while minivan drivers pay 65 cents per mile. Here's how that breaks down, based on the type of vehicle you drive: Small sedan: $6,967
Medium sedan: $9,151
Large sedan: $11,248
SUV or 4WD: $11,599 The most painful hit to the pocketbook for drivers comes from below the hood. Maintenance costs rose by 11.2%, or 4.97% for the average U.S. driver. AAA attributes that to a hike in the cost of labor and parts and a "major" increase in extended warranty prices, thanks mostly to unusually high losses by auto insurance underwriters in the past year. The average cost of insuring your vehicle rose $28, to $1,029, for the average sedan driver, and that's a driver considered by insurers to be "low risk, with a clean driving record." Gas prices have risen -- that's no shock to everyday drivers -- by 14.45 cents per mile, but again it's the size of your vehicle that counts: If you're driving a smaller vehicle, the real rise at pumps to $3.48 per gallon from $3.35 won't affect you as much as if you drove an SUV, minivan or truck. One factor affecting the annual cost of driving your car might be under the radar, but it's a big drain on the budget nonetheless: AAA says that depreciation costs, while rising less than 1%, are at $3,571 per year. AAA says that may be due to more used cars on the open market, which hurts the resale value of all cars in the U.S.
So the next time you're stuck in traffic, try not to think that every second the "cost-per-driving" meter is ticking ever upward. Other than leaving your vehicle in the garage or selling it altogether, there's not too much you can do about it.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV