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May/Jun 2013 Issue

Driving costs top $9,000 per year, AAA finds

driving costsIt will cost motorists nearly $25 per day to drive in 2013, an increase of about 50 cents per day compared to last year, according to driving cost figures released by AAA.

With gas prices, insurance, and other costs associated with car ownership rising, motorists will pay $9,122 to own and operate their cars this year, an increase of about $175 compared to last year and nearly identical to the increase the year before that.

Overall, motorists will pay an average of 60.8 cents per mile to drive this year, an increase of 1.2 cents, according to AAA’s “Your Driving Costs” brochure. The driving 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.

AAA’s analysis 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, rose by nearly 1 cent per mile this year. And the ownership costs–comprised of such things as insurance, taxes, and licensing fees–climbed by $58 for the year.

The brochure also includes driving costs for four-wheel-drive SUVs, which will be 77.3 cents per mile in 2013, 1.6 cents more per mile, for a total of $11,599 for the year. Driving costs for minivans will be 65.3 cents per mile, up nearly 2 cents from last year. It will cost $9,795 to own and operate a minivan this year.

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

For a free copy of “Your Driving Costs,” send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to: AAA, “Your Driving Costs,” 12901 N. Forty Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63141. See the brochure online.

Each motorist on the road will spend an average of $9,122 in 2013 to own and operate his or her car.


Motorists condemn speeding but do it anyway, AAA finds

One of the first speeding tickets issued was in 1899 to a New York City taxi driver who was traveling at 12 mph, nearly double the 8 mph speed limit for that street. A police officer on a bicycle arrested him.

Today’s speeding incidents aren’t so comical, with speeding contributing to about one-third of all U.S. traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Yet while most people understand the risks of driving fast–and condemn others for being risky–they refuse to apply what they know to their own behavior.

According to AAA’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, a survey of driver attitudes and actions that was released early this year, nearly three in four drivers (72.5 percent) consider it unacceptable to drive 15 mph over the speed limit on freeways, yet nearly half of drivers (49.3 percent) say they have done just that in the previous month.

Similarly, nearly half of all drivers (45.2 percent) say that drivers speeding on residential streets are a very serious threat to their personal safety, and nearly nine in 10 drivers (89.1 percent) consider it unacceptable for someone to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a neighborhood. However, nearly half of drivers (46.8 percent) say they have driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street in the past month.

Speeding directly contributes to traffic crashes because it reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the road, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation. Indeed, a previous AAA study found that the odds of being involved in a crash or near-crash were nearly three times as high when driving significantly faster than the surrounding traffic relative to when driving at the appropriate speeds.

“People decry speeding as a threat to their safety, but their actions speak louder than their words,” said Mike Right, vice president of AAA Public Affairs. “Getting to a destination a couple minutes quicker isn’t worth risking your life and the lives of everyone else on the road.”

Speed limit sign

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