AAA's analysis began with the fact that vehicle owners who live in the city drive an average of 10,481 miles a year. Adding in the costs of fuel, insurance, and the purchase of the vehicle (but excluding parking costs), AAA found that the average cost for an urban driver of a mid-sized sedan is $7,321 per year.
Parking expenses vary widely by city; AAA looked at 20 urban areas and found that the average cost of parking was $2,728 annually, making the full cost of vehicle ownership $10,049 per year. The lowest average annual cost for flat-rate parking was in Phoenix ($706) and the highest was in New York City ($8,088).
Buy (gently) used: The single biggest cost of car ownership isn't gas, maintenance, or insurance—it's depreciation, a car's loss in value over time as it gains age and mileage. Buying a pre-owned vehicle means avoiding some of that depreciation cost. Safe, reliable used vehicles are available at most price points.
Don't skimp on maintenance: It's counter-intuitive, but regularly spending a little money to keep your vehicle in good working order may save you in the long run by helping to prevent larger, more expensive repairs.
Slow down: AAA research has shown that driving at high speeds has a profoundly negative impact on fuel economy. When gas is expensive, slowing down can save money. Learn more about the impact of driving habits on fuel economy.
Don't overspend on gas: If your car doesn't specifically require premium or mid-grade gasoline, don't spend extra to get them: there's no benefit. Learn more about what premium and mid-grade gas are (and aren't), and which vehicles need them.
1AAA Car Care Service Package is a limited-time offer for members, valid 8/20/18-11/30/18, priced at $34.99 with conventional oil, $54.99 with synthetic blend oil, or $74.99 with full synthetic oil. Oil change includes up to five quarts of oil. Tire rotation is only performed if needed. Tax and environmental fees not included. Available for most passenger cars and light trucks. Diesel and select domestic, European, Asian and exotic cars excluded. Inspection is limited to items identified on the designated inspection form only. Cost of any repairs not included. Appointment may be required. Contact the facility in advance for details. Other restrictions may apply. Not valid with any other offer, including 10% AAA member discount. Valid AAA membership card must be presented at a participating AAA Approved Auto Repair facility at the time of service.
2All new cars arranged for sale are subject to availability and a price pre-arranged with the selling franchised new car dealer. A promotional fee has been paid by the participating dealers. AAA Car Buying Service is only available to AAA members and available for select makes and models in select areas. Outside of Southern California, AAA Car Buying Service is managed by TrueCar, Inc. Limited supply and special edition vehicles may be excluded. Other restrictions may apply. See dealer for details. Only car buying research tools are available in Hawaii.
Information taken from "AAA: Ride-Hailing Twice the Cost of Car Ownership," AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Aug. 21, 2018.
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