Table 3-14. Average Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobilea (Assuming 15, 000 Vehicle-Miles per Year)

Table 3-14. Average Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobilea (Assuming 15, 000 Vehicle-Miles per Year)

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  1975 1980 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Average total cost per mile (current ))14.4 21.2 23.2 33.0 37.3 38.8 38.7 39.4 41.2 42.6 44.8 46.1 49.1
Gas and oil 4.8 5.9 5.6 5.4 6.6 5.9 5.9 5.6 5.8 5.6 6.6 6.2 6.9
Gas and oil as a % of total cost 33.4 27.9 24.0 16.4 17.7 15.2 15.2 14.2 14.1 13.1 14.7 13.4 14.1
Maintenance 1.0 1.1 1.2 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.8 3.1 3.6
Tires 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.7
Average total cost per 15,000 miles, (current $)2,154 3,176 3,484 4,954 5,601 5,824 5,804 5,916 6,185 6,389 6,723 6,908 7,363
Variable cost 968 1,143 1,113 1,260 1,455 1,350 1,380 1,365 1,440 1,440 1,620 1,605 1,829
Fixed costb 1,186 2,033 2,371 3,694 4,146 4,474 4,424 4,551 4,745 4,949 5,103 5,303 5,534

a All figures reflect the average cost of operating a vehicle 15,000 miles per year in stop and go conditions.
b Fixed costs (ownership costs) include insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation, and finance charges.

NOTES: Changes in the way costs were calculated make it difficult to compare pre 1985 data with more recent years.
Prior to 1985, the cost figures are for a mid-sized, current model, American car equipped with a variety of standard and optional accessories. After 1985, the cost figures represent a composite of three current model American cars. The 1999 fuel costs are based on an average price of $1.285 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, weighted 20% full-serve and  80% self-serve. Insurance figures are based on personal use of vehicles driven less than 10 miles  to or from work, with no drivers under 25 years old. Normal depreciation costs are based on the vehicle's trade-in value  at the end of 4 years or 60,000 miles. American Automobile Association analysis covers vehicles equipped with standard and optional accessories including automatic transmission, air conditioning, power  steering, power disc brakes, AM/FM stereo, driver- and passenger-side air bags, anti-lock brakes, cruise  control, tilt steering wheel, tinted glass, emissions equipment, and rear-window defogger.

SOURCE: American Automobile Association, Your Driving Costs (Heathrow, FL: Annual issues).