According to a study by AAA released in April 2013, the cost of owning and operating a car in the U.S. has increased by nearly 2% over the past year, leading to a whopping annual cost of $9,122 for an average sedan driven 15,000 miles per year!

Aside from regular expenses like gasoline, the costs that are factored into this calculation include maintenance, insurance and depreciation, which all rose compared to the previous year.

According to AAA’s study, the cost of owning and operating a vehicle can vary significantly based on vehicle size.

Based on Driving 15,000 miles annually

Small Sedan

Medium Sedan

Large Sedan

Sedan Average

SUV 4WD

Minivan

Cost Per Mile

46.4 cents

61.0 cents

75.0 cents

60.8 cents

77.3 cents

65.3 cents

Cost Per Year

$6,967

$9,151

$11,248

$9,122

$11,599

$9,795

According to this table, an SUV costs over 65% more to own than a small sedan. A comparison of the vehicles shows that smaller cars are more economical than larger ones because smaller cars are more fuel-efficient. The financing charges for smaller vehicles are also lower since they are generally less expensive to buy.

That being said, there are certainly other ways to lower your cost on car ownership, such as buying a late-model used car to reduce depreciation expenses or getting a hybrid vehicle. Or just add one person to your vehicle and get twice the value out of your trip! Find fellow Bruins to fill your empty seats at www.zimride.com/ucla.