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Vehicle Ownership Cost Increases

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When it comes to owning a car, there are many different costs to consider aside from the initial price. Everything from fuel to repairs and insurance can really add up, and a recent AAA study reveals the average cost of ownership has increased since last year. For every mile the average driver puts on their vehicle, they spent about 59.6 cents, which is 1.1 cents higher than it was last year. The researchers examined the cost of driving the five top-selling vehicles in five categories – small, medium and large sedans, minivans and SUVs.

“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, the director of automotive engineering and repair for AAA. “Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase [in cost of ownership] of 1.9 percent. Some driving costs fluctuate at different times during the year, such as what we have experienced with fuel prices since the middle of February.”

Depreciation cost, which dropped 4.9 percent, was the only aspect of ownerships that declined. Insurance rose by 3.4 percent and maintenance fees saw a more modest bump of 0.7 percent.

The higher strain on the budget of owning a car has created a larger demand for used vehicles, as they are typically more affordable than their new counterparts. While recent trends have shown a push toward fuel-efficient new cars, there are still plenty of used models that offer decent mileage.

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