SALT LAKE CITY — The average cost of owning and operating a new car has been rising — thanks mostly to increasing gasoline and petroleum costs.
The annual "Your Driving Costs" study estimated the overall cost of owning and operating a new sedan at almost 60 cents per mile, a nearly two-cent-per-mile increase from 2011. According to the report, the increase amounted to an average of $8,946 in yearly costs, based on 15,000 miles of driving.
“These increases for 2012 are due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas,” said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. “If you plan on purchasing a new car or truck, make sure to double check what the driving costs will be before you make your decision.”
AAA estimated driving costs based on factors such as gasoline, tires, maintenance, financing, depreciation and insurance. Fuel costs increased the most year over year, rising about 15 percent per mile for sedan owners.
Gas prices in the 2012 study were calculated using the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2011. The cost of tires ranked as the second leading factor in increasing the overall expense of driving in 2012, with an average price increase of 4.2 percent — about one cent per mile — for a medium-sized sedan. The rise was attributed to higher costs for natural rubber production and distribution.
Auto depreciation dropped nearly 5 percent from last year due to reduced new car sales over the past five years. Although insurance costs vary widely depending on the driver, average insurance costs for a sedan climbed 3.4 percent to an average of more than $1,000 a year. Maintenance costs were also up slightly, the report stated.
The "Your Driving Costs" report studied the average operating and ownership costs of five top-selling models in three size classes, including small, medium and large sedans. AAA research showed the annual average cost of driving a small sedan was $6,735 per year, while a large sedan was $11,324 per year.
SUV owners pay an average of about $11,360 in annual operating costs, while minivan owners incurred an average of approximately $9,500 in driving-related costs for 2012.