Cost to operate a vehicle is down 2 percent this year
Falling gas prices and finance charges have brought the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle down to $8,698, which is about 2 percent lower than last year, according to AAA's 2015 Your Driving Costs study.
The costs for drivers who own minivans and sport utility vehicles are 4 percent lower this year, at $9,372 and $10,624 respectively.
The research by AAA examines the cost of fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance changes associated with driving a typical sedan 15,000 miles a year. In the United States, a driver can expect to spend 58 cents for each mile driven, or $725 per month.
"Simple facts, the price of gas has fallen in 2015 and because there is an increase in people buying new cars, financing rates have dropped to make things competitive," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "New Jersey is interesting. We have high insurance rates, but we also have one of the cheapest gas rates in the country, so it almost balances itself out. Last year at this time, we were paying $1.11 more per gallon than we are today."
According to the study, the cost of fuel is down 13.77 percent to 11.2 cents per mile or $1,681 per year. In addition, finance charges are down 21.02 percent to $669 per year.
Yearly fees to operate a vehicle are on the rise. Insurance is up 8.99 percent to $1,115 per year and license, registration and taxes are up 3.74 percent to $665 per year.
The study also shows that the cost to keep the car on the road has increased as well. Maintenance is up .99 percent to 5.11 cents per mile or $766.50 per year and the cost of tires has inflated from 1.03 percent to .98 cents per mile or $147 per year.
Depreciation has increased 4.10 percent to $3,654 per year, the study shows. This is due to increasing new car sales that are causing an influx of used and off-lease vehicles entering the marketplace.
"Despite some of the increases, the lower cost of fuel and finance charges brought the overall cost of operating a vehicle down," Noble said.