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Cost of driving a car keeps going up, study finds

Published: Wednesday, April 24 2013 12:23 p.m. MDT

The 2013 edition of AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study estimates that the overall cost of owning and operating a new average-size sedan was about 61 cents per mile — a 1.96 percent per mile hike from 2012. The increase amounts to an average of $9,122 in yearly costs, based upon 15,000 miles of driving annually.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Driving a car is getting more expensive. New research from AAA has found that the average annual cost of owning and operating a new car increased by nearly 2 percent.

The 2013 edition of AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study estimates that the overall cost of owning and operating a new average-size sedan was about 61 cents per mile — a 1.96 percent per mile hike from 2012. The increase amounts to an average of $9,122 in yearly costs, based upon 15,000 miles of driving annually.

“Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said Rolayne Fairclough, spokeswoman for AAA Utah. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase of just over 60 cents a mile.”

She said before making any vehicle purchase, determining ownership and operational costs and comparing them to current and future vehicle costs is important.

AAA estimated driving costs based on factors including fuel costs, tires, maintenance, financing, depreciation and insurance. Maintenance costs were up 11.26 percent, the highest year-over-year percentage.

“On average this represents 4.97 cents per mile for sedans,” Fairclough said. “This significant increase is due to labor, auto parts and extended warranty policies.”

Gas prices climbed 1.93 percent to 14.45 cents per mile, the report states. The 2013 gas price study was calculated using the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2012.

The cost of tires remains unchanged from 2012, at 1 cent per mile on average for sedan owners, according to the report. Auto depreciation rose slightly due to recovering new car sales, resulting in more used cars available in the marketplace, she explained.

Although insurance costs vary widely depending on the driver, average insurance costs for a sedan are up 2.76 percent to an average of $1,029 a year, she added.

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com

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