The Real Cost of Driving

Gas prices keep going up. They're around 3.45 a gallon for regular unleaded right now in Tulsa. But if that isn't painful enough, AAA found that fuel isn't the only cost of owning a car that's on the way up. Higher gas prices might be the most obvious cost of owning and operating a car, but they're not the only numbers creeping upward.

AAA study

AAA's annual study of driving costs found that on average, getting where you need to go costs 3.4% more than last year. That's based on 15,000 miles of driving the average standard sedan.{} 58.5 cents per mile, for a total just under $8800 dollars a year.

Break it downThe biggest increases:

  • The cost of tires, up more than 15%.
  • Fuel costs up 8.6%.{} {}
  • And depreciation, the loss of your car's value that starts as soon as you drive it off the dealer's lot, up nearly 5%, a cost many consumers don't think about because it doesn't have a price tag. AAA's John Nielsen says, "That's the greatest cost. It's something where you can shop for cars that have low depreciation and save yourself considerably."

Here's some good news

There is a some encouraging news.{} The cost of insurance dropped on average for good drivers, as did maintenance.{} That's especially good news, since regular maintenance can prevent pricey repairs down the road. Maintenance can also keep your car more efficient, maybe even saving you a little gas.