Results from the AAA's 2013 Your Driving Costs study show that the outlay required to own and operate an average sedan in the U.S. rose by 1.96 percent from the previous year. The latest AAA data also indicated the average cost/mile figure for these vehicles climbed to 60.8 cents -- a bump of 1.17 cents. That increase brought the total annual cost to $9,122 based on a 15,000-mile annual driving regimen.

In making its calculations, the AAA employs proprietary methodology that takes a number of key factors into consideration. They include the price of fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license/registration/taxes and depreciation for a new vehicle that will be driven for 5 years/75,000 miles.

Of those categories, AAA found the greatest percentage jump for 2013 came in maintenance costs, which rose by 11.26 percent. Insurance saw the next largest uptick, rising by 2.76 percent on average, followed by a 1.93 percent rise in fuel prices and a 0.78 percent increase in depreciation, with the replacement cost for tires holding steady.

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In addition to generating data for the "average" sedan, the 2013 Your Driving Costs study also contains comparative numbers for small, medium and large 4-door models as well as for minivans and SUV/4WD vehicles. All figures were based on data generated using five top-selling models in each individual category as selected by AAA.

Not surprisingly, small sedans proved to be the most economical overall choices, racking up a modest 46.4 cents/mile and totaling $6,967 per year in running costs. Those numbers rose to 61.0 cents/$9,151 for the mid-size 4-door models, and 75.0 cents/$11,248 for full-size sedans. On the people-mover front, the AAA's 2013 study found that minivans averaged 65.3 cents/mile to operate and racked up $9,795 in total annual costs, while SUV/4-wheel drive vehicles topped the stat sheet, pushing the per-mile cost to 77.3 cents and the year-long total to $11,599.

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Produced annually since 1950, the latest AAA Your Driving Costs study contains a wealth of more specific information as well as a worksheet that can help individual owners make more informed decisions regarding potential purchases. Currently available at your local AAA office, it also can be found online at

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