Motorists can expect to spend an average of $7,823 this year to operate their cars

For every mile you drive during 2007, it will cost you 52.2 cents, according to new figures released by AAA. The per-mile cost did not change from last year.

More than merely the price of gasoline, AAA’s annual estimate on how much motorists pay to drive is composed of all the ownership, maintenance and operating costs associated with driving. AAA’s driving cost analysis is presented each year in a free brochure, “Your Driving Costs,” which this year shows motorists who drive 15,000 miles will spend an average of $7,823 during the year.

Vehicle operating costs– which include gasoline, oil, tires and maintenance–actually decreased to 14.5 cents per mile, down from 15.1 cents last year. However, ownership costs–insurance, registration, taxes, finance charges and depreciation–rose by 21 cents per day to $15.47 per day. Combined, the total average cost per mile is 52.2 cents this year.

The driving costs are based on the average costs for the five top-selling models in three categories: small sedan, medium sedan and large sedan. The estimates are based on 15,000 miles driven annually.

AAA also has found that the ownership and operating costs will be more for sport utility vehicles and less for minivans this year. According to the study, the driving costs for four-wheel-drive SUVs will be 66.6 cents per mile, about 1 cent more than last year. And the driving costs for minivans will be 57.6 cents per mile, a decrease of 1.6 cents per mile.

AAA’s cost estimates are different for business use of a personal vehicle. Such payments typically cover operating costs for actual mileage and a portion of the fixed ownership costs.

To find out what you spend annually on your car, AAA’s “Your Driving Costs” brochure contains a work sheet.

For a free copy of the brochure, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to: AAA, “Your Driving Costs,” 12901 N. Forty Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63141. You can also determine your vehicle ownership costs at www.AAA.com in the automotive section.

2007 Driving Costs

Variable costs

gas and oil: 8.9¢/mile
maintenance: 4.9¢/mile
tires: 0.7¢/mile
total: 14.5¢/mile

Fixed costs: ($15.47/day)

insurance: $985/year
license, taxes, etc.: $538/year
depreciation: $3,392/year
finance charges: $733/year
total: $5,648/year

Cost per mile (total) based
on 15,000 miles per year: 52.2¢


Published May/June 2007


Comprehensive GDL programs help save teen lives

Sixteen-year-old drivers are involved in 38 percent fewer fatal crashes and 40 percent fewer crashes resulting in injuries if their state has a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program with at least five of seven common components, according to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia have enacted three-stage GDL systems. A typical three-stage GDL program comprises a learner stage, during which driving must be supervised; followed by an intermediate stage, during which unsupervised driving is permitted except under certain conditions (such as at night or with passengers); and finally full, unrestricted licensure.

Five states lack intermediate licenses, including Arkansas. Arkansas has one of the seven basic GDL components, Louisiana has two and Mississippi has two. While the states nearly met other components, they didn’t meet the specific requirements set forth in the study, including:

  • A minimum age of at least 16 years for a learner’s permit.
  • A requirement to hold the learner’s permit for at least six months before receiving a license that allows any unsupervised driving.
  • A requirement for certification of at least 30 hours of supervised driving practice during the learner stage.
  • An intermediate stage of licensing with a minimum entry age of 16 years and six months.
  • A nighttime driving restriction for intermediate license holders, beginning no later than 10 p.m.
  • A restriction for intermediate license holders, allowing no more than one passenger (except family members).
  • A minimum age of 17 years for full, unrestricted licensure.

The study also found that in states with GDL programs that had at least four of the seven components, 16-year-old drivers were involved in 21 percent fewer fatal crashes.


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