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May/Jun 2010 Issue

Driving costs climb to 56.6 cents per mile

With gas prices and some other costs associated with car ownership climbing, motorists will pay 56.6 cents per mile to own and operate their cars this year, 2.6 cents more per mile than last year.

According to estimates recently released by AAA, motorists will pay a total of $8,487 this year to own and operate their cars, up by almost $400 compared to last year. Overall, motorists will pay $23.25 per day to drive their cars. These results are published in a free brochure called “Your Driving Costs.”

AAA’s annual forecast of how much motorists pay to drive is made up of two types of costs. Operating costs, which include such expenses as gas and maintenance, climbed by 1.3 cents per mile this year. And ownership costs–which are comprised of insurance, licensing fees, taxes, depreciation and more–increased by nearly $200 per year. The costs are based on 15,000 miles of driving using the average costs for the five top-selling models in three categories: small sedan, medium sedan and large sedan.

“Your Driving Costs” also includes ownership and operating costs for minivans and sport utility vehicles. The driving costs for four-wheel-drive SUVs will be 73.9 cents per mile, 5.5 cents more per mile than last year. And the driving costs for minivans will be 58.8 cents per mile, which is 3.2 cents more than in 2009.

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

To find out what you spend annually on your car, the brochure contains a work sheet. It also features vehicle maintenance tips to ensure your vehicle operates efficiently, which reduces driving costs.

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 online at in the automotive section.

driving costs

While on vacation, travelers should protect their homes

When spring comes around, many will be taking that long-awaited vacation to “get away from it all.” Unfortunately, some vacationers will return home to find “it all” is no longer there.

Home burglaries are generally higher during peak travel months. Nationally, a burglary happens every 13 seconds. Many of those burglaries, however, could be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. AAA provides the following tips for any home owner planning a vacation.

Many burglars enter through a window, so remember to close and lock all house and garage windows and doors. If you own a second car, park it halfway up the driveway and lock it. The presence of the car will deter burglars from pulling a vehicle close to your house and will make it appear as if someone is at home. However, if you live in an area where car thefts are frequent, you must carefully consider this option. Any vehicle left unattended for an extended period should be protected with some type of security device.

Leave blinds and curtains in their normal position so that your house doesn’t have a closed-down look. Move expensive electronic equipment and other attractive items away from windows where they are easily visible.

Ask a close neighbor or friend to pick up your mail. If that is not an option, have the U.S. postal service hold your mail and temporarily cancel your newspaper subscription.

In addition, ask a friend to inspect your house regularly and inform your friend whom to contact in case of an emergency.

Set an automatic timer so interior lights and a radio periodically turn on and off. Also, arrange to have grass cut if traveling for an extended period, and keep shrubbery trimmed around windows so thieves don’t have a place to hide.

house in chains

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