How much are you really paying to drive your car each year?


Based on our 2015 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study, Americans are paying on average, about $8,698 a year to own and operate their vehicles.The true cost of vehicle ownership involves more than the sticker price and what you pay at the pump. AAA does an annual study that examines the averages costs of fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges associated with driving a a variety of vehicle types 15,000 miles annually. In the United States, an average sedan driver can expect to spend 58 cents for each mile driven, nearly $725 per month, to cover the fixed and variable costs associated with owning and operating a car in 2015.

The findings of the 2015 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include the average costs per mile and per year to own and operate a variety of vehicle types:

Based on Driving 15,000 miles annually Small Sedan Medium Sedan Large Sedan Sedan Average SUV 4WD Minivan
Cost Per Mile 44.9 cents 58.1 cents 71.0 cents 58.0 cents 70.8 cents 62.5 cents
Cost Per Year $6,729 $8,716 $10,649 $8,698 $10,624 $9,372


In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure.

Before you make any vehicle purchase, it is important to determine ownership and operational costs and compare them to your current and future financial situation.” To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle.


Fuel costs

Compared to last year’s study, the average cost of regular unleaded fuel fell nearly 13 percent to $2.855 per gallon. This decline, coupled with improvements in vehicle fuel economy, resulted in an average 11.21 cents-per-mile fuel cost.  Due in large part to this decrease, the cost of owning and operating a sport utility vehicle is slightly less than that of a large sedan this year.

Finance charges

With rising car sales and stiff competition among dealers, many manufacturers are offering low finance rates to attract buyersbringing the average finance charges per year down recently to $669.


Depreciation is the single largest ownership expense, and it rose for 2015 due to increasing new car sales that are causing an influx of used and off-lease vehicles entering the marketplace. This increased supply has resulted in lower values and selling prices for used vehicles, thus driving up depreciation costs to an average of $3,654 per year.


Insurance rates vary widely by driver, driving habits, insurance company and geographical area. AAA’s calculations are based on low-risk drivers with excellent driving records. With this background, the average insurance rate was $1,115 per year.


Maintenance costs varied widely by vehicle type but, on average, were up slightly from 5.06 cents to 5.11 cents per mile


The average cost of tires for American consumers was $147 per year or 0.98 cents per mile.


Across the United States, the average costs of all license and registration fees and taxes was about $665 per year.

65th Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study

AAA has published Your Driving Costs since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary.

For more information on Your Driving Costs, download the brochure here.