AAA: 2005 Driving Costs Much the Same as 2004; Annual Cost of Insurance Sees Drop

March 21, 2005

According to an annual AAA study, the average cost of driving a passenger vehicle in the United States is nearly unchanged from one year ago, despite higher costs for gasoline.

This year, AAA estimates it will cost an average of 56.1 cents per mile, or $8,410 per year, to own and operate a new passenger car, mile, or $8,431 annually, in 2004.

Offsetting higher gasoline costs are reductions in the annual average cost of insurance, licensing, registration and taxes, as well as tires and maintenance. The cost of gasoline in 2005 is estimated to average 8.5 cents per mile, or $1,285 per year, compared to 6.5 cents per mile, or $975, last year.

AAA’s study calculates the average costs of all expenses associated with owning and operating a vehicle over five years and 75,000 miles of driving using a compact, mid-size and large vehicle. Covered expenses include vehicle depreciation, insurance, fuel, tires, license, registration and taxes, vehicle financing, routine maintenance and repair.

Vehicle depreciation, insurance and routine maintenance top the list as the three most expensive costs attributed to driving an automobile. AAA estimates the average new car will depreciate $3,879 per year of ownership, compared to $3,782 in 2004.

The second largest expense is full insurance coverage estimated to average $1,288 per year compared to $1,603 in 2004.

Routine maintenance, including the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance operations and tire expense, is estimated to cost 5.9 cents per mile, or $885 for the year, compared to 6.1 cents per mile, or $915, last year.

AAA calculates typical finance charges for 2005 are $739 per year, based on a 5 year loan at 6 percent interest with a 10 percent down payment. In 2004, AAA estimated finance changes at $741 per year.


Year Cost per Year Cost per Mile
2005 $8,410 56.1 cents
2004* $8,431 56.2 cents
2003 $7,754 51.7 cents
2002 $7,533 50.2 cents
2001 $7,654 51.0 cents
2000 $7,363 49.1 cents
1999 $7,050 47.0 cents
1998 $6,908 46.1 cents
1997 $6,723 44.8 cents
1996 $6,389 42.6 cents
1995 $6,185 41.2 cents
1994 $5,916 39.4 cents

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