Driving in 2012 is more expensive

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It costs almost $9,000 more this year than last year to own and operate the average sized car.

Gasoline, tires, maintenance and insurance all are higher – causing the costs per mile to rise to 59.6 cents per mile, or $8,946 per year, based on 15,000 miles of annual driving, according to AAA Colorado’s annual “Your Driving Costs” study.

“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, AAA director of automotive engineering and repair. “Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9 percent.”

The cost of fuel had the largest percentage increase from 2011 to 2012, rising 14.8 percent to 14.2 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel rose 16.6 percent, from $2.88 to $3.36 per gallon.

The cost of tires ranks second highest among the factors that rose from 2011 to 2012, increasing by 4.2 percent to 1 cent per mile on average for sedan owners.

Depreciation costs were up slightly in 2011, but for 2012 the trend has reversed with depreciation falling across the board by nearly 5 percent. This could be because of reduced new car sales over the past few years, which has resulted in a relative shortage of good used cars on the market, the report said.

Maintenance costs are slightly higher in 2012, with an increase of 0.7 percent to 4.47 cents per mile on average for sedans. Factors include higher prices for oil and more manufacturers now requiring synthetic or synthetic–blend motor oils.

Finally, average insurance costs for sedans rose 3.4 percent (or $33) to $1,001 yearly.

It’s a far cry from 1950, when AAA first published “Your Driving Costs.” Back then, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.