Study: Average Annual Vehicle Ownership Cost Nearly $10,000

The average cost of owning a vehicle is now $9,666 per year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). While the sum is up substantially over the 2019 average of $9,282, 2020 was sitting at a much tighter $9,561.

Of course, none of this means anything to you unless you happen to drive the most typical vehicle in the most likely manner imaginable. The problem with coming up with a representative figure is that it doesn’t actually represent any one driver or automobile. But AAA was good enough to provide some basic calculation tools to help determine where you fall on the spectrum and some pointers on how to bring those rates down. Though the biggest factor remains which hunk of metal happens to be occupying your driveway.

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Study Suggests EVs Cost More to Service

One of the reasons electric vehicles have been so polarizing is down to the near-constant proclamations that they’re the superior mode of transportation. But truth is usually a mixed bag and spending some time with EVs has shown them to have some serious blind spots that will need to be addressed if they’re ever to supplant internal combustion vehicles. Electrics aren’t always the better option, though they do boast features that make them extra desirable to some.

Among those was the promise that owning an EV yielded lower maintenance costs. But there’s a new study out claiming that’s not entirely true. Data is pointing to electrics actually having average servicing fees higher than traditional automobiles.

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The Cost of Ownership: Financing a Car Hasn't Gotten Any Cheaper, Says AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests that long-term loans are encouraging ownership costs of new vehicles to climb. In some instances, the group suggests customers could be on the hook for well over $10,000 per year. While this only applies to larger and more expensive automobiles, AAA says the trend is all-encompassing — spurred largely by changing finance conditions.

According to AAA’s latest research, finance costs on new vehicle purchases have jumped 24 percent in 2019, elevating the average annual cost of car ownership to $9,282 ($773.50 per month).

“Finance costs accounted for more than 40 [percent] of the total increase in average vehicle ownership costs,” elaborated John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director for Automotive Engineering & Repair. “AAA found finance charges rose more sharply in the last 12 months than any major expense associated with owning a vehicle.”

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Gas War: Efficiency Rollback Would Raise Fuel Costs, Study Claims

The fuel economy rollback posited by the Trump administration remains a hotly debated issue within the automotive community. Unfortunately, it has become mired in political nonsense, making decrypting the real-world impact of embracing or shunning it rather difficult. Consumer Reports recently took a stab at making sense of the matter, coming out in favor of balking at the notion of a rollback on the grounds that it would ultimately raise fueling costs.

Last year, the administration proposed capping fuel economy and emission standards at 2020 levels, instead of allowing them to rise annually as under existing regulations. The opposition, fronted by California, is vying to maintain the existing standards — with the possible compromise of delaying them by one year.

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AAA: New Safety Tech Effectively Doubles Cost of Minor Repairs

Advanced safety tech may save your skin, but it certainly won’t spare your wallet in the event of a minor accident. According to research from the American Automobile Association, replacing and/or recalibrating the sensors needed to allow modern driving aids to function properly are severely inflating the cost of even minor repairs.

Unfortunate, considering features like blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking are cropping up as standard equipment on even the most affordable rides. Car ownership continues to get more expensive and there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it — with one exception.

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Attention, Cheapskates: Here Are the Most Affordable Cars to Own in Every Segment

There are few things sweeter in life than bragging to your friends and family about the good deal you just negotiated on a new car. They certainly won’t care, but the amount of self-satisfaction received from reminding yourself that you are a force to be reckoned with at the dealership is immeasurable.

Of course, the bargain in the driveway can turn into a money pit once you calculate all the costs associated with vehicle ownership. Fuel costs, financing, insurance, and depreciation can all add up — especially if you purchased the wrong model. So what’s a thrift-obsessed shopper to do, calculate the total cost of ownership on every model in every segment over a five-year period to determine which is the best value overall?

Don’t be ridiculous, someone has already done that.

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'What is Cost of Ownership?' Asks One Third of US Drivers While Borrowing to Pay Repairs

According to the American Automobile Association, one third of drivers in the U.S. cannot pay for an unforeseen vehicle repair without going into debt.

AAA says the average trip to the shop will set you back between $500 and $600. So, what does that mean for the 64 million American drivers who can’t afford an unexpected repair bill?

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AAA Study: Cost Of Ownership Falls In 2014 Due To Lower Fuel Prices

In its annual Your Driving Costs study, AAA says the cost of owning and operating a vehicle has fallen on the back of lower fuel prices, though its findings leave a little to be desired with current fuel costs.

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About Motoring Journalists And Luxury Diesels

Recently, I spent some of my procrastinating time in Facebook discussion with a colleague, motoring journalist here in Czech Republic. He was driving a new Range Rover at the time, and he was raving about how great car it was. But there was one flaw, he said. The car came with the most common engine on our market – the TDV6 diesel. And while it didn’t really lack power and was reasonable refined, even for the luxury car it is, there was one thing it just lacked. A V8. Preferably, of the gasoline-burning kind.

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Toyota Prius Best, Nissan Armada Worst in Consumer Reports' Cost Per Mile Rankings

The Toyota Prius was ranked at the top of Consumer Reports’ Best New Car Value scoring for the second year in a row. CR’s analysis ranked over 200 vehicles on performance, reliability and costs and determined that over five years the Prius will cost 47 cents per mile to own and operate. Lower depreciation and operating costs for the Prius offset paying a premium for the hybrid.

“The Prius’ 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested,” Rik Paul, the magazine’s automotive editor, said in a statement. “Though it’s not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain.”

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Hammer Time: Bankrate.com And The Economics Of Car Ownership

One thousand, nine hundred, and fifty two dollars.

That is how much the average Georgian is supposed to pay in tax, title, and registration fees every year according to Bankrate.com.

When I read that factoid, my eyebrows almost flew off my head. The amount had no cents, and the statement made no sense because I happen to be the guy who collects the taxes from my customers and sends them to the state. Only a $28,000+ car purchase every single year would make this possible, and Georgia is a notoriously poor state. Out of a population of nearly 10 million, our state registered fewer than 300,000 new vehicle sales in 2012.

I quickly concluded that Bankrate.com had done little homework except to launched a PR campaign, under the guise of a study, that was heavy on the numbers and light on the facts.

I also decided to read through the list since 49 other states were also given their daily dose of tax calculations. Immediately, I saw enough red flags to warrant a bit more detail.

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  • Conundrum All that verbiage for a brake fluid reservoir cap that sorta kinda fails over time? That's all it is, right? The vent hole gets plugged up or something. Quelle horreur, it's the end of civilization as we know it. What happens when Micky D's doesn't put enough extra ketchup in your order at the take-out window? You must have an existential histrionic fit!Cue the cheapskate commenter: "Jeez. I drove my 1987 Corolla 734,562 miles, the last 83K with the emergency spare on the left rear, and it didn't even use up all the tread! Plus, I never had brake failure and it never used a drop of oil even though I used Walmart $1.88 stuff in a plastic gallon jug. I guess Toyota could teach those Ferrari guys sump'n about how to build cars!"
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