AAA: Average operating costs hit $8,469
Following an evaluation of 45 different 2017 model year vehicles, the AAA has determined Americans will spend nearly $8,500 annually on average to operate and maintain their vehicles. That stat works out to a $706 monthly outlay. The research compiled for the AAA’s 2017 Your Driving Costs encompassed data on the top five sellers in nine different vehicle categories and was based on a sales-weighted average of the individual costs for all assuming each was driven 15,000 miles per year.
Not surprisingly, small sedans proved the least expensive choice at $6,354. They were followed by small SUVs ($7,606), hybrids ($7,687), midsize sedans ($8,171), electric vehicles ($8,439), minivans ($9,146), large sedans ($9,399), midsize SUVs ($9,451) and pickup trucks ($10,054). Depreciation accounts for the biggest financial hit on a new vehicle of any kind. AAA found annual depreciation was lowest in small sedans ($2,114) and small SUVs ($2,840) with minivans ($3,839) and EVs ($5,704) suffering the greatest declines.
Two other key cost drivers were maintenance and repair which averaged $1,186 and fuel costs which averaged about $1,500. However, AAA notes that latter figure can vary from 3.68 cents per mile for a pure electric vehicle to 13.68 cents for a pickup. “Although electric vehicles can have higher up-front costs, lower fuel and maintenance costs make them a surprisingly affordable choice in the long run,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “For even lower costs, car shoppers can avoid high depreciation costs by selecting a used electric vehicle.”
The AAA 2017 Your Driving Costs evaluation also considered insurance, licensing/registration and finance elements. More detailed information and the complete study can be found here.