AAA Reports Cost of Owning and Operating a New Vehicle is Now 54.1 Cents Per Mile


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ORLANDO, Fla., April 4 AAA's 2008 edition of "Your Driving Costs" shows the cost of driving a passenger vehicle in the United States has increased 1.9 cents per mile in the last year and now averages 54.1 cents per mile.

"While the cost of some driving expenses declined since the start of 2007, higher gasoline prices have more than offset these savings and pushed the overall cost of vehicle ownership and operation higher this year," said John Nielsen, director of AAA's Approved Auto Repair network. In 2008, AAA estimates it will cost $8,121 to own and operate a new passenger car driven 15,000 miles per year. This compares to $7,823 per year in 2007; or 52.2 cents per mile.

Costs for maintenance, full-coverage insurance and depreciation are all slightly lower this year, while the costs for fuel, tires, financing, license, registration and taxes showed increases.

AAA's study calculates the average costs of owning and operating five top-selling models in three popular size classes: small, medium and large sedans. The results clearly show that consumers have an opportunity to save substantial sums of money by switching from larger models to smaller vehicles.

For example, AAA's research shows the annual average cost of driving a small sedan is $6,320 per year, while a large sedan costs $9,769 per year. Similar savings can be realized by driving a minivan, instead of a larger and less-fuel efficient sport utility vehicle (SUV). AAA estimates the annual expense of owning and operating a typical minivan at $8,644 per year versus $10,448 for a four-wheel-drive mid-size SUV.

AAA's study calculates the average costs of all expenses associated with owning and operating a vehicle over five years and 75,000 miles of driving. Driving costs in each category are based on the average expenses for five top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category they are:

-- Small sedan - Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.

-- Medium Sedan - Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.

-- Large Sedan - Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Five Hundred (renamed Taurus for 2008), Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.

Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and minivan information has been included to help buyers estimate operating costs for these types of vehicles. SUV models include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner. Minivan models are the Chevrolet Uplander, Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Upon request and subject to availability, AAA clubs can provide members with this year's "Your Driving Costs" brochure. The brochure can also be downloaded from the Internet on AAA's public affairs Web site, www.aaaexchange.com.

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com

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