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Car Ownership Costs Decreased in 2013

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May 9, 2014—The average cost to own and operate a vehicle decreased 2.7 percent in 2013, according to AAA’s “Your Driving Costs” study.

The average cost dropped to 59.2 cents per mile, or $8,876 a year, based on 15,000 miles of annual driving.

"The cost of ownership went down, which it had not done for several years," said Michael Calkins, AAA's manager of technical services. "That's due almost entirely to fuel cost decreases."

According to the study, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas fell 5.96 percent, from $3.49 to $3.28.

AAA used gas price data from the last three months of 2013 for the study.

On the other hand, maintenance costs increased nearly 2 percent to 5.06 cents per mile, on average, for sedan owners. AAA's estimates are based on the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles, including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty policy.

AAA said they also identified an increasing number of vehicles requiring low-viscosity semi- or full-synthetic motor oils, which cost more than conventional oils but provide better fuel economy, added engine protection and allow for longer oil change intervals.

“Despite increases in maintenance and registration fees, American motorists are experiencing an overall decrease in the cost to own and operate a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA managing director of automotive engineering and repair. “A large decrease in fuel costs, and lower tire, insurance and depreciation expenses are saving owners more than one and a half cents on every mile they drive.”

For the complete report, visit the AAA website.

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