This Feb. 19, 2012 file photo shows a line of 2012 Prius sedans at a Toyota dealership in the south Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo. Toyota and Chrysler saw big U.S. sales gains in April 2012, but they came at the expense of General Motors and Ford. Toyota said its sales rose 12 percent as its inventories finally return to pre-earthquake levels. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP2012
And you thought it was expensive to just buy a car these days.
The average cost to operate a vehicle in the United States is now $8,946 annually, according to the 2012 edition of AAA’s Your Driving Costs study.
That’s an increase of 1.9 percent over 2011 and encompasses the full cost of ownership, including fuel, maintenance and tire wear among other factors.
And it could already be a lot more than that.
Increases were seen almost across the board with fuel prices experiencing the biggest single jump at 14.8 percent. But that figure was calculated using a fourth quarter 2011 average price of 3.36 cents per gallon, which has risen dramatically this year.
Fuel was followed by tire costs, which rose 4.9 percent, and insurance, up 3.4 percent year over year.
The only bright spot for car owners was a decrease in the rate of depreciation of their vehicles by 4.9 percent due mainly to low auto sales over the past few years, a trend that is already reversing.
Overall, a typical driver can expect to spend 59.6 cents per mile this year. That compares to just 9 cents per mile when the study was first conducted in 1950, when the average price of a new car was about $1,500.