AAA reports that the average annual cost of vehicle ownership has increased to $9,282, or $773.50 a month, mainly because of a 24% rise in finance costs for new car purchases. This marks the highest cost associated with new vehicle ownership since the motoring group began tracking expenses in 1950.
Average maintenance and repair costs rose marginally to 8.94 cents per mile, up 8.9% over last year. According to AAA, the increase was tied to the growing complexity of vehicle systems and a new methodology for calculating repair costs. Electric vehicles had the lowest maintenance and repair costs at 6.60 cents per mile, while medium-sized SUVs had the highest at 9.60 cents per mile.
Finance charges rose more sharply in the last 12 months than any major expense associated with owning a vehicle, according to AAA’s research. The spike is tied to rising interest rates and higher vehicle prices, as 72-month vehicle loans have become increasingly common — meaning that buyers are paying more for their vehicles and financing them longer.
The data come from AAA’s Your Driving Costs study, which analyzes nine categories of vehicles (45 models) to determine the average annual operating and ownership costs of each. The motoring group’s research focuses on top-selling, mid-priced models and compares them across six expense categories: fuel prices; maintenance, repair and tire costs; insurance rates; license, registration and taxes; depreciation; and finance charges. For 2019, annual average costs increased in each category.
Additional information from the study can be found at AAA.com/YourDrivingCosts.