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Average Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobile
(Assuming 15,000 Vehicle-Miles per Year)
Changes in methodology have been made in 1985 and 2004, and thus costs may not be comparable before and after those years.
In 2004, the American Automobile Association adopted a new method for calculating vehicle operating costs that represent the real-world personal use of a vehicle over a five-year and 75,000-mile ownership period. The total cost of owning and operating an automobile include fuel, Maintenance, Tires, insurance, license, registration and taxes, depreciation, and finance.
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 2004 fuel costs are based on average late-2003 U.S. prices from AAA's Fuel Gauge Report: Insurance figures are based on a full-coverage policy for a married 47-year-old male with a good driving record living in a small city and commuting three to ten miles daily to work. The policy includes $100,000/$300,000 level coverage with a $500 deductible for collision coverage and a $100 deductible for comprehensive coverage. Depreciation costs are based on the difference between new-vehicle purchase price and its estimated trade-in-value at the end of five years. 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.
The sum of Variable and Fixed costs may not add to totals due to rounding.
a All figures reflect the average cost of operating a vehicle 15,000 miles per year in stop and go conditions.
b Prior to 2004, data include oil cost.
c Beginning in 2004, data include oil cost.
d Fixed costs (ownership costs) include insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation, and finance charges.
American Automobile Association, Your Driving Costs (Heathrow, FL: Annual Issues), available at as of August 2016.