Table 3-14: Average Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobilea

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 2000
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 51.0
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 7.9
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 15.5
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 3.9
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 1.8
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 7,654
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 2,040
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 5,614

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 2000 fuel costs are based on a fourth quarter average price of $1.595 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).