An annual report by the American Automobile Association shows that nationwide an average sedan driven 15,000 miles a year costs 59.6 cents a mile, or $8,946 for the year. A small car costs 44.9 cents a mile. An SUV costs 75.7 cents.
“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 B. Townsend II of AAA. “Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9 percent.”
He said the cost of oil used in tire production and increases in the price of natural rubber caused tire prices to increase 4.2 percent.
The cost of insuring a vehicle increased by 3.4 percent, to a national average of $1,001 a year, Townsend said. The expense of maintaining a car increased less that one percent.
The value of vehicles, reflected in lower depreciation rates, went up. The AAA report attributed that to the fact that slower new car sales has meant there are fewer good used cars on the market, driving prices up.
When AAA began calculating the overall cost of driving in 1950, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.