AAA: Costs of car ownership at 6-year low

The cost to own a car is down to a six-year low, thanks to cheaper gas prices.

According to a new study from AAA, the average bill for U.S. drivers is $8,558 per year, or 57 cents for every mile. The final tally includes fixed and variable expenses, including gas, insurance, maintenance and depreciation.

“Thanks to lower gas prices, American drivers can expect to save hundreds of dollars in fuel costs in 2016,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair. “Fortunately, this annual savings more than offsets the moderate increases in maintenance, insurance, finance charges and other costs associated with owning and operating a vehicle.”

Fuel costs of 8.45 cents per mile are down 24.6% versus last year’s study. AAA said the average price for a gallon of regular gas slipped to $2.139 in the fourth quarter. The current national average is $2.047, up 23 cents compared to a month ago. But gas prices are still down 34 cents versus the same day in 2015 because the seasonal hike in spring pump prices has been smaller than usual.

Depreciation costs ticked 2.9% higher, amounting to $3,759 per year. Vehicle maintenance is up 3.3% to $792 on average. Car insurance rates have been on the rise, and AAA measured a 9.6% increase to $1,222 annually.


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