Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobile

Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobile

Driving an automobile 15,000 miles per year cost 51¢ per mile in 2002, or 13 percent more than it did in 1992, when total costs were 45¢ (figure 6-2). These data, which are expressed in 2000 chained dollars,1 include fixed costs (e.g., depreciation, insurance, finance charges, and license fees) and variable costs (e.g., gasoline and oil, maintenance, and tires). Between 1992 and 2002, fixed costs represented an average of 75 percent of total per-mile costs. Gasoline and oil, a component of variable costs, represented 12 percent of driving costs per mile in 2002, down from 15 percent in 1992 [1].

Americans take about 87 percent of their daily trips in highway vehicles, including their own automobiles [2]. For the other 13 percent of trips, people travel via public transportation or air, ride bicycles, walk, or travel by other means.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2003, table 3-14, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of March 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, Highlights of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of March 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.