AAA: annual cost of having a car is down this year

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A study shows the cost of having a car is at its lowest point in six years. AAA says the annual cost of owning and driving a vehicle in the U.S. is down about $8,500.

You have to look at the current gas prices in context. Yes, they’ve gone up in recent weeks, but compared to recent years, gas is still quite low, and that is what is bringing down overall costs in this AAA study.

The AAA has been doing this study since 1950. They look at seven different things about your vehicle that cost you money.

Gas prices are one of them, and because they dropped 25%, gas easily offsets a bunch of other things that went up just 2-3%. These things include insurance rates, car depreciation, maintenance costs, finance charges, and the things we pay the government like, license, registration and taxes.

So those went up just a little. There is one more category that went up considerably. That is insurance. It went up an average of 10%, so car insurance now costs us an average of more than $1,200 a year. The AAA says that hike is a result of gas prices too.

“More people were driving so there were more commutation miles, more travel miles, and as a result, more collisions, more accidents, so that has created a spike in the insurance costs,” said Fran Mayko, AAA northeast spokeswoman.

There are things you can do to lower the cost of having a car even more. One is, reduce depreciation by buying a car that holds its value. You can reduce fuel costs by driving a more fuel efficient car. Be sure to shop around for the best insurance rates, and don’t over-maintain your car. I didn’t know this was a problem, but some people change their oil too often.

So the overall cost, on average, of having and driving a car in the U.S. is $8,558, or 57 cents for every mile driven. For some perspective, when they started this study in 1950, that cost was 9 cents per mile. But back then, gas only cost 27 cents a gallon,

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