A new report done by AAA pinpoints the single biggest cost factor in new vehicle ownership. And it may surprise you.

AAA Northeast Spokesman Robert Sinclair said the report found the minute you leave the dealership, the vehicle starts to bleed value — "40 percent of the cost of owning a new vehicle, that is $3,000 per year ... is depreciation."

"Our AAA Annual Year driving cost study found that the average new vehicle in 2018 cost $8,849 per year, or just under 59 cents per mile, and that is for vehicles averaging 15,000 miles of annual driving," Sinclair said. "Fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, tires — all those sort of things that get the most attention. The largest expense in buying a new car is depreciation."

Sinclair said the prestige of new car ownership comes with a fair degree of sticker shock, even after you make the deal.

"While a lot of people want a nice new vehicle — they look shiny and have the latest devices and equipment and what have you — you are really going to pay a cost for that," he said.

Sinclair said the lesson for anyone who wants to beat the numbers is to keep the car for a long time, and making sure that you maintain it.

He said that also means driving the vehicle with care to keep it on the road longer.

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