Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Apr 19, 2013

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The average cost of owning and operating a sedan rose to $9,122 for 2013, according to a recent study by AAA.

The company’s annual “Your Driving Costs” study found that the average cost for vehicle maintenance, fuel, tires, insurance and depreciation for a sedan driven 15,000 miles a year was 60.8 cents per mile, up 1.17 cents from last year. Tire prices remained steady, but increases in vehicle maintenance, fuel and insurance costs increased the overall total.

To find the average costs, AAA compared the driving costs of 2012’s five top-selling small, medium and large sedans. Cars from Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Nissan were used.

In addition to these costs, the study also examined financing. The estimated finance cost of each car was based on a five-year auto loan at six percent interest with a 10 percent down payment.

The average loan terms outlined in the study do not match up with recent national averages. The average auto loan interest rate is under five percent. On April 18 the average rate for a five year loan on a new car was 4.11 percent. For a three year loan on a new car the average interest rate was 4.69 percent.

The average duration of an auto loan is much longer. Last month Experian found that the average auto loan for a new car spanned 65 months during Q4 of 2012.

The two largest hits to the price of ownership, however, have been the rise in depreciation costs and the cost of car repairs. Depreciation went up .78 percent for this year, after dropping in 2012. The study attributes this trend to recovering sales of new vehicles and an increase in the number of used cars.

Vehicle repair costs jumped 11.26 percent in the same period, caused by an increase in the cost of labor and parts for certain models.

This is the 63rd time AAA has published their “Your Driving Cost” study. When the study was first released in 1950 the average cost of owning a vehicle was nine cents for every 10,000 miles driven and gas cost an average of 27 cents a gallon.