ORLANDO, Fla. - AAA released the results of its annual "Your Driving Costs" study last week, revealing a 1.9% rise in the yearly costs to own and operate a sedan in the United States. The average costs rose 1.1 cents per mile to 59.6 cents per mile, or $8,946 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.
"The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas," said John Nielsen, AAA director of automotive engineering and repair. "Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9%."
"Some driving costs fluctuate at different times during the year, such as what we have experienced with fuel prices since the middle of February," explained Nielsen. "However, AAA's use of a consistent methodology for its study allows an accurate comparison of driving costs from year to year, and the figures can reliably be used to compare different categories of vehicles."
According to AAA, the cost of fuel had the largest percentage increase from 2011 to 2012, rising 14.8% to 14.2 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) rose 16.6%, from $2.880 to $3.357 per gallon. Several vehicles included in the study had increases in fuel economy, resulting in the overall average fuel cost increase being slightly less. The fuel costs in the 2012 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2011.
In-depth findings of this year's study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, may be downloaded at the AAA Newsroom.