The average yearly cost to own and operate a new vehicle has surpassed $10K, study shows

Florida average sits above $11,000, AAA report shows

Auto parts are displayed on a shelf at a car repair shop, Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Collingdale, Pa. Surging prices for gas, food and rent catapulted U.S. inflation to a new four-decade peak in June, further pressuring households and likely sealing the case for another large interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, with higher borrowing costs to follow. Consumer prices soared 9.1% compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, July 13, 2022, the biggest 12-month increase since 1981, and up from an 8.6% jump in May. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TAMPA, Fla. – In the last year, the average annual cost of owning and operating a new vehicle has increased 11% — from $9,666 in 2021 to $10,728, or $894 per month — according to AAA’s 2022 Your Driving Costs report.

The same figure is reportedly even higher in Florida, as AAA said Thursday the average cost comes to $11,279 in the Sunshine State to daily drive a new vehicle, $805.50 each month, 5% above the national average.

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The auto club’s yearly study does not look at every single new vehicle on the market, however. For 2022′s Your Driving Costs, AAA restricted its selection to “top-selling, mid-priced” models made within the last five years, ending up with 45 vehicles total. Though a list of the models chosen wasn’t published this time, a driving costs calculator on AAA’s website can estimate the yearly cost of owning and operating a vehicle based on factors such as miles driven, city/highway driving ratio, year, make, model and even trim.

The figures at the top of this story were relayed from an average of 15,000 miles of testing. In 2021′s report, Your Driving Costs found that while it cost $9,666 annually to travel 15,000 miles per year in a new car, the number rose to $11,381 at 20,000 miles. The most recent report identifies fuel prices as “the most significant factor pushing this year’s annual price tag.”

Further, the study states the “fuel costs were projected based on a weighted average of the first five months of 2022,” the average itself being $3.999 per gallon, or 17.99 cents per mile. Nationwide, the average price of a gallon of regular gas rose from $3.413 in January to $4.545 by May, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. AAA acknowledged this, clarifying “the cost of vehicle ownership has increased accordingly since the Your Driving Costs evaluation was completed” due to the dramatic climb in gas prices.

AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said the price of gas on its own has made many Americans much more cognizant when purchasing a new vehicle.

“While sticker price remains a focus for new car buyers, consumers are also paying closer attention to operational costs like fuel, maintenance, and insurance,” Jenkins said.

Before purchasing a new car, the auto club recommended buyers follow these steps:

  • Start early! Due to limited inventory, consumers may have fewer choices regarding a specific vehicle model. They may have to wait for delivery or even pre-order the vehicle of their choice.
  • Obtain pre-approval from their financial institution (e.g., Bank, Credit Union, AAA, etc.) before discussing finance rates with the car dealer. By getting pre-approval, they will have a threshold of the best lending rate they’ll pay. Buyers can use their pre-approval to negotiate if the dealer offers a higher rate.
  • Create a budget and factor in the different elements of ownership – not just monthly payments. Other factors to consider when making the budget include insurance, gas, routine maintenance, etc.
  • Call your insurance agent to compare potential rates for your top choices and how they compare to your current vehicle.
    • Typically, three negotiations occur when purchasing a vehicle – the cost of the car, the finance rate and the trade-in value. Keep each transaction/negotiation separate from the other.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.