Posts Tagged ‘Driving’

Michael Green Contact TileORLANDO, Fl (May 20, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65. This price is seven cents more expensive than one week ago and 14 cents more than one month ago. The seven-cent weekly increase is the largest such spike since February and today’s national average price at the pump is the highest since March.

While the average American motorist has enjoyed a less expensive year-over-year pump price for 79 consecutive days, the savings have narrowed to just four cents per gallon, down substantially from the peak year-to-date discount of 39 cents on April 18. With the national average rising steadily, compared to a year ago when prices were tumbling, it is likely that the average will once again rise above year-ago levels in the coming days and may be more expensive than last year for the approaching Memorial Day holiday weekend.

US-fuel-prices-5-20

Midwest-Prices-5-20Higher crude oil prices may be the reason that drivers in every state are paying more for gasoline than two weeks ago, but tight regional supplies and refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – are the reason for the dramatically higher pump prices in the Midwest and West Coast. In particular, the average price paid by motorists in Minnesota (+68 cents) and North Dakota (+63 cents) has spiked more than sixty cents during this period, propelling both state averages to new all-time highs. The previous record in both states was in July 2008; at the same time the national average soared to what is still a record of $4.11 per gallon.

While not yet at record highs, three states (Iowa, Neb. and Okla.) have had prices increase by more than 50 cents in two weeks and are within a dime of their respective all-time highest pump prices. Rising Midwest prices may have slowed over the weekend from their recent breakneck pace, but motorists are not out of the woods yet as regional supplies remain low and heavy storms were forecast yesterday and today. No refinery disruptions have been reported as a result of the storms, but the potential remains for additional refinery issues in the already supply-strapped region.

Top10-Highest-State-Avgs-5-20With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday marking the unofficial start to summer, the national average continues to cling to a year-over-year discount; however motorists in all twelve Midwestern states and Oklahoma are paying at least a dime per gallon more than on this date in 2012. The national average on the previous two Memorial Days were $3.64 (May 28, 2012) and $3.79 (May 30, 2011).

With much of the focus on volatile regional gasoline markets, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have continued to drift higher in recent weeks. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 69 cents at $96.71 per barrel. This is the highest settlement price for WTI in more than 6 weeks.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.58. This price is six cents more expensive than one week ago and four cents more than one month ago. This is the largest weekly increase since February and the national average has now registered a month-over-month premium on three straight days.

The national average has been less than the same date in 2012 for 72 straight days; however the year-over-year discount has narrowed to 15 cents per gallon after widening to as much as 39 cents per gallon on April 18. Gas prices at this time last year were falling consistently and would eventually decline 82 out of 87 days for a total of 61 cents from April 6 to July 2. By comparison, the national average this year has increased for eight straight days to the highest price in more than a month. With this in mind, it is likely that the year-over-year discount will continue to fade in the coming days.

The national average is currently 21 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.

The recent trend of higher prices at the pump has been nearly universal with only motorists in West Virginia and Ohio paying less today at the pump than a week ago. Six states (Ore., Minn., Wash., Okla., Neb. and Iowa) have seen prices surge by more than twenty cents and 13 states have seen prices jump by at least a dime. While higher crude oil prices have put upward pressure on retail gasoline prices across the country, it has been tight supplies and refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – in Midcontinent and West Coast that has squeezed prices substantially higher for drivers in those regions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After drifting higher for several weeks, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices were pressured lower today by a stronger dollar and weaker equities. Oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars and as the dollar strengthens against foreign currencies, as was the case today, these futures become relatively more expensive to purchase and are a less attractive investment. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 87 cents at $95.17 per barrel.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is two cents more expensive than one week ago, but it remains 9 cents less than one month ago and 26 cents less than one year ago. After registering a week-over-week decline every day since March 1 (61 consecutive days), the national average has posted a week-over-week increase for six straight days. The national average is currently 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.

Since national gas prices peaked at the end of February, motorists nationwide have felt welcome relief at the pump in the form of falling prices. In recent weeks, the exception to this downward trend was limited to six states in the Great Lakes region where the transition to summer-blend gasoline and heavy rains triggered supply concerns and provided a catalyst for higher retail prices. While these remain the only states with a higher average pump price today than a month ago (Ill. +15 cents, Ind. +12 cents, Ohio +10 cents, Wisc. +8 cents, Mich. +7 cents and Minn. +2 cents), motorists in the majority of states are paying more today than one week ago.Month over MOnth increases in gas prices

Higher prices in the Great Lakes region were initially the product of domestic production concerns; however the recent broader increase in retail gas prices has been supported by higher global crude oil prices. On April 17 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $86.68 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. At the close today the traditional U.S. benchmark settled at $96.16 — up 55 cents on the day and almost $10 in less than three weeks.

These higher oil prices have been broadly supported by signs of economic recovery, however news over the weekend of an Israeli airstrike in Syria raised fresh concerns of a possible disruption to oil supplies in the Middle East and added to the upward pressure on prices. In the spring of both 2011 and 2012 oil prices rose substantially on violence and escalating geopolitical tensions with Libya and Iran respectively, before tumbling as these concerns were alleviated heading into the summer.

National Average

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.50. This price is two cents less expensive than one week ago, 14 cents less than one month ago and 32 cents less than one year ago. The last time that the national average was below $3.50 was February 2. While the national average price at the pump increased by fractions of a penny overnight, it had previously fallen for four consecutive days and 50 of the previous 61. The national average is currently 29 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.

Motorists in the vast majority of states have seen the price of gasoline continue to fall during the last week; however drivers in nine states (see graphic below), including parts of the Midwest, actually saw prices increase during this period. Analysts have noted that the region would be susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo seasonal maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production, and recent storms and resulting power outages provided a catalyst for higher retail prices in the region. Gas stations in much of the country must make the retail switch to selling summer-blend gasoline by June 1, however refineries make the shift to summer blend in March and April in order to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more sensitive to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.

On Saturday a fire and explosion at the Marathon refinery in Detroit raised new concerns of a possible disruption to regional supply, however a statement issued today indicated that the incident is not expected to have an impact on production. While it does not appear that this most recent event will contribute to higher prices for motorists, it highlights the likelihood that gas prices in the region will remain sensitive to any unexpected disruptions to production as we near the deadline for the switch to summer blend gasoline.

While  retail gas prices have continued to fall nationally, crude oil prices have reversed their recent slide and jumped higher in the last week. One week after settling below $90 per barrel for the first time in 2013, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil began last week at $88.76 per barrel but rose sharply to end the week at $93. This increase continued today as a weaker dollar kept upward pressure on oil prices. Oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars and as the dollar weakens against foreign currencies, as was the case today, these futures become relatively less expensive to purchase and are a more attractive investment. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.50 cents at $94.50 per barrel.

 

 

Michael Green Contact TileNearly two-thirds of consumers offset high gas prices with driving or lifestyle changes

WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 23, 2013) – Half of U.S. adults consider gas prices to be “too high” when it reaches $3.44 per gallon, indicating a potential breaking point on gas prices, according to a new consumer price index developed by AAA. Roughly two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) are offsetting high gas prices by changing their driving habits or lifestyle.

“It was not long ago that motorists were shocked to pay more than $3 per gallon for gasoline, but now that is standard at stations nationwide,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Today’s average consumer feels a breaking point on high gas prices closer to $3.50 per gallon, and expensive prices have forced many motorists to change their driving habits.”

Additional Resources

AAA’s gas-price index tracks consumer attitudes by determining at what price the cost of gasoline becomes too high. The results from the open-ended survey demonstrate how attitudes can be expected to change as prices rise above significant milestones:

  • 46 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.00 per gallon
  • 61 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.50 per gallon
  • 90 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $4.00 per gallon

“It is possible there is a new normal in terms of consumer attitudes now that gas prices have remained above $3 per gallon for more than two years,” continued Darbelnet. “Most people have resigned themselves to paying higher gas prices and are cutting back on driving, shopping and dining out to save money.”

Consumers report changing their driving habits or lifestyle in a number of ways to offset recent gas prices, including:

  • Driving less – 86 percent
  • Reducing shopping or dining out – 71 percent
  • Driving a more fuel efficient car – 54 percent
  • Delaying major purchases – 53 percent
  • Working closer to home – 39 percent
  • Carpooling – 33 percent
  • Using public transportation more regularly – 15 percent
  • Other – 18 percent

Younger consumers ages 18-34 are more likely to offset recent gas prices by working closer to home or using public transportation more regularly than adults ages 35 and up (48 percent vs. 35 percent and 25 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively). These results could suggest a generational shift in terms of attitudes towards driving, but it is too early to say whether these attitudes would continue into the future.

Today’s national average price of gasoline is $3.52 per gallon, but prices currently vary by more than $1 per gallon nationwide. The national average has remained above $3.00 per gallon for 28 consecutive months. While the national average has not surpassed $4.00 per gallon since 2008, it is not uncommon for motorists living in the West Coast, Northeast and near the Great Lakes to pay more than $4.00 per gallon.

AAA developed the price index by asking respondents, “At what price do you start to consider the cost of gasoline to be too high? Please tell me the price per gallon to the nearest ten cents.” AAA combined the answers from 974 respondents to determine the potential consumer breaking point for high gas prices.

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,011 adults (503 men and 508 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted on March 28-30. The total included 661 interviews from the landline sample and 350 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±3.8 percent.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is a penny less expensive than one week ago but, it is 16 cents less than one month ago and 35 cents less than one year ago. After declining for 45 of 51 days the national average has now increased for three straight days. Despite this recent string of rising prices, the national average remains 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.

top ten highest gas prices

While motorists in every state but three (Utah, Idaho and Wyo.) are paying less at the pump  than one month ago, those in some Midwestern states have seen prices climb sharply in the last week following supply concerns from heavy rains in the region. Prices in 43 states and Washington D.C. are lower than one week ago, compared to four Great Lakes states, which have seen the average price increase more than a dime per gallon (Ill. 10 cents, Mich. 24 cents, Ohio 28 cents and Ind. 28 cents).

The recent storms and resulting power outages provided the catalyst for higher retail prices in the Midwest, however analysts had warned that the region was susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production. Gas stations in much of the country must make this retail switch by June 1, however refineries shift to making summer blend in March and April to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more susceptible to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.

largest week over week increases

The primary factors driving retail gas prices lower in recent weeks have been low demand, continued disappointing economic news and lower crude oil prices. This slide in crude oil saw Wednesday’s settlement price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, fall to $86.68 per barrel, which set a new 2013 low. While prices have recovered slightly, they continue to support lower gas prices for motorists. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 80 cents at $88.81 per barrel.

 

Erin SteppIncrease in maintenance, insurance and fuel drive up average cost for sedans to $9,122 yearly, 60.8 cents per mile

ORLANDO, Fla., (April 16, 2013) – AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today, revealing a 1.96 percent increase in the cost to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average cost rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.

“Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile.”

The findings of the 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include:

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

Additional Resources

In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure which is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded in the additional resources bar.

Nielsen continued, “Before you make any vehicle purchase, it is important to determine ownership and operational costs and compare them to your current and future financial situation.” To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle.

Maintenance Costs Up 11.26 Percent

The costs associated with maintaining a vehicle had the single largest percentage increase from 2012 to 2013, growing by 11.26 percent to 4.97 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. AAA’s estimates are based upon the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty policy.  Driving the increase in maintenance costs is significant increases in labor and part costs for some models and a major increase in the price of extended warranty policies due to high loss ratios by underwriters.

Fuel Costs Up 1.93 Percent

Gasoline prices were relatively stable compared to the prior year, leading to a minimal fuel cost increase of 1.93 percent to 14.45 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) actually rose 3.84 percent, from $3.357 to $3.486 per gallon. However, several vehicles in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had small improvements in their fuel economy ratings which partially offset the fuel cost increase. Fuel costs in the 2013 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Tire Costs Remain Unchanged
The cost of tires did not change from 2012 to 2013, remaining at one cent per mile on average for sedan owners. The stable price is attributed to a leveling off of past increased costs for raw materials, energy and transportation from factories to distributors across the country.

Insurance Costs Up 2.76 Percent

Average insurance costs for sedans rose 2.76 percent (or $28) to $1029 annually. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. Quotes from five AAA clubs and insurance companies representing seven states showed across-the-board modest increases for all sedan sizes, with large cars having less of an increase than small- and medium-size sedans.

Depreciation Costs Rise .78 Percent

After seeing a drop in 2012, depreciation costs were up slightly in 2013, increasing .78 percent to $3,571 a year. This change may be a consequence of recovering new vehicle sales, resulting in more used cars available in the marketplace and thus the softening of the resale value of clean older models.

63rd Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study

AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary. See AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure for a list of vehicles and additional information on the underlying criteria used in the study.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.53. This price is seven cents less expensive than one week ago, 16 cents less than one month ago and 38 cents less than one year ago. The national average has now fallen for 12 straight days and 41 of 47 days since the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.

Top Ten Largest Weekly Decreases in Gas Prices

Motorists across the country continue to feel relief at the pump as prices in every state but Idaho are lower than one week ago. While Idaho is also one only five states where drivers are not paying less than a month ago, many of those states where gasoline is less expensive have seen prices fall dramatically: motorists in 40 states are paying at least a dime less than one month ago, seven states are paying at least 20 cents less and two states (Ind. and Ohio) are paying at least 30 cents less. Drivers in Hawaii continue to pay the highest gas prices in the country and as of Saturday were the only state to average more than $4.00 per gallon. This marked the first time since February 7 that only one state had registered an average price at the pump above this threshold.

Top Ten Highest Average Gas Prices

Retail gas prices have dropped steadily since the end of February, however the factors pressuring prices lower have changed during this decline. Prices fell to begin March as many refineries resumed normal operations following the completion of seasonal maintenance and production concerns eased. This decline came even as crude oil prices moved higher. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at what was then a 2013-low of $90.68 per barrel to begin March. On the final trading day of the month WTI settled $6.55 higher at $97.23, which was the highest price since mid-February.

U.S. gasoline prices in April have continued to fall, not just because of weak demand data and signs of economic weakness but as oil prices have also moved sharply lower.

At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled $2.58 lower at $88.71 per barrel. This is $8.52 below than the recent peak price on March 28 and is the first time since Christmas Eve that WTI has settled below $90 per barrel.

Study Shows that “Do As I Say, Not as I Do” Attitude Prevails Among Nation’s Drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C., (January 25, 2013) – Motorists who use cell phones while driving are more likely to engage in additional dangerous behaviors such as speeding, driving drowsy, driving without a seatbelt and sending texts or emails, according to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Additionally, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of licensed drivers reported talking on a cell phone while driving within the last month despite the fact that nearly nine-in-ten respondents (89 percent) believe other drivers using cell phones are a threat to their personal safety.

Additional Resources

“Ninety percent of respondents believe that distracted driving is a somewhat or much bigger problem today than it was three years ago, yet they themselves continue to engage in the same activities,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “More work clearly is needed to educate motorists on the risks associated with using a cell phone while driving, especially given that most Americans believe this problem is becoming worse.”

Motorists who fairly often or regularly used their cell phones over the last month also reported that they engaged in additional risky behaviors. The research shows:

  • 65 percent also reported speeding
  • 44 percent also reported driving while drowsy
  • 53 percent also reported sending a text or email
  • 29 percent also drove without a seatbelt

Conversely, drivers that reported never using a cell phone were much less likely to report additional risky behaviors:

  • 31 percent reported speeding
  • 14 percent reported driving drowsy
  • 3 percent reported sending a text or email
  • 16 percent drove without a seatbelt

Despite the near-universal disapproval of texting and emailing while driving (95 percent), more than one-in-four licensed drivers (27 percent) reported sending a text or email at least once in the past 30 days, and more than one-third (35 percent) said they read a text or email while driving. Young drivers age 16-24 were even more likely with more than half (61 percent) reporting having read a text or email while driving in the past month, while more than one-in-four (26 percent) reported checking or updating social media while driving.

“What concerns AAA is this pattern of risky behavior that even goes beyond cell phone use,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA vice president of public affairs. “These same cell phone-using drivers clearly understand the risk of distraction, yet are still likely to engage in a wide range of dangerous driving activities.”

Driver use of cell phones impairs reaction times and roughly quadruples crash risk. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 3,000 people are killed and nearly half a million are injured each year in crashes involving distraction. This is likely an underestimate given the challenges associated with determining the role of distraction in crashes.

AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have long been leading advocates in educating motorists about the risks of distracted driving. AAA recommends that motorists turn off their phone before driving or pull over to a safe place to talk, send texts or use email. AAA also has launched a legislative campaign to advocate for a text messaging ban in all 50 states. To date, 39 states and the District of Columbia have adopted this key traffic safety measure and AAA expects all 11 remaining states to consider this legislation in 2013.

The distraction data were collected as part of the AAA Foundation’s 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally representative, probability-based survey of 3,896 U.S. residents ages 16 and older. The sample is representative of all U.S. households reachable by telephone or by regular mail. The questionnaire was made available in English and Spanish, and respondents were able to complete it in the language of their choice. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provides additional details in the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index and as part of a report called Distracted and Risk-Prone Drivers.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org or www.facebook.com/AAAFTS for more information on how you can join our cause.

Increases in gas and tires drive up average costs for sedans to $8,946 yearly, 59.6 cents per mile; SUV costs up to $11,360 yearly, 75.7 cents per mile

Erin SteppORLANDO,Fla., (April 27, 2012) – AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today revealing a 1.9 percent rise in the yearly costs to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average costs rose 1.1 cents per mile to 59.6 cents per mile, or $8,946 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.

“The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas,” said John Nielsen, AAA director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9 percent.”

The findings of the 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include:

Based on Driving 15,000 miles annually

Small

Sedan

Medium Sedan

Large Sedan

Sedan Average

SUV 4WD

Minivan

Cost Per Mile

44.9 cents

58.5 cents

75.5 cents

59.6 cents

75.7 cents

63.4 cents

Cost Per Year

$6,735

$8,780

$11,324

$8,946

$11,360

$9,504

 

In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure which is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded here.

Additional Resources

“Some driving costs fluctuate at different times during the year, such as what we have experienced with fuel prices since the middle of February,” explained Nielsen. “However, AAA’s use of a consistent methodology for its study allows an accurate comparison of driving costs from year to year, and the figures can reliably be used to compare different categories of vehicles.”

Nielsen continued, “AAA understands that high fuel prices are a real concern for consumers, and those in the market for a new vehicle may want to be cautious and determine projected operational costs based on varying levels of fuels costs. To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle.

Fuel Costs Up 14.8 Percent

The cost of fuel had the largest percentage increase from 2011 to 2012, rising 14.8 percent to 14.2 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) rose 16.6 percent, from $2.880 to $3.357 per gallon. Several vehicles included in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had increases in fuel economy, resulting in the overall average fuel cost increase being slightly less. The fuel costs in the 2012 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Tire Costs Up 4.2 Percent
The cost of tires ranks second highest among the factors that rose from 2011 to 2012, increasing by 4.2 percent to one cent per mile on average for sedan owners. The rise in cost can be attributed to higher costs for natural rubber, and the increased cost of oil used in tire production and transportation from factory to distributors across the country. A collateral factor is a trend for manufactures to equip new cars with premium-grade tires rather than mid-grade tires.

Depreciation Drops 4.9 Percent

Depreciation costs were up slightly in 2011, but for 2012 the trend has reversed with depreciation falling across the board by nearly five percent.This change may be a consequence of reduced new car sales over the past few years, which has resulted in a relative shortage of good used cars on the market, driving up their value. This is good news for those in the resale market as their vehicles will retain a greater portion of their purchase cost.

Maintenance Costs Up 0.7 Percent

Maintenance costs are slightly higher in the 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study with an increase of 0.7 percent to 4.47 cents per mile on average for sedans. Factors contributing to the increase include higher prices for oil and more manufacturers now requiring synthetic or synthetic-blend motor oils. Although the use of these oils often comes with extended service intervals, the higher cost of the oil combined with increased maintenance operations at each service (which adds to the time required) can combine to increase overall vehicle maintenance costs.

Insurance Costs Up 3.4 Percent

Average insurance costs for sedans rose 3.4 percent (or $33) to $1001 yearly. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. For 2012, this group saw a small increase that offset a decrease experienced in 2011. Quotes from five AAA clubs and insurance companies representing seven states showed across the board increases for all sedan sizes, with large cars having the biggest increase.

62nd Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study

AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs‘ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

Driving Costs are also affected by how well your vehicle runs. Performing regular maintenance not only ensures fuel-efficient operation but can help prevent costly vehicle repairs that can add to your total ownership cost. For more information on ways to keep your vehicle in top condition read the owner’s manual and visit AAA.com for vehicle care information, automated maintenance reminders and repair facility locator tools.

The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study analyzes the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and tires. Fuel costs are based on $3.357 per gallon (average price of gas for October 2011-December 2011/AAA Fuel Gauge Report) and Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy ratings weighted 60 percent city, 40 percent highway driving. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. These ownership costs are assumed to be on a purchase of a new vehicle, depreciated over five years. Finance charges are based on five year loan at six percent interest with a 10 percent down payment. Your actual operating costs may vary. Refer to page three of AAA’s 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure for a list of vehicles and assumptions used in the study.

To conduct its study, AAA’s auto buying and repair experts compiled detailed driving costs for small, medium, and large sedans. Driving costs in each category are based on the average costs for five top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category, they are:

  • Small Sedan – Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.
  • Medium Sedan – Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
  • Large Sedan – Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.

Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and minivan information is also included in ‘Your Driving Costs’ to help buyers estimate operating costs for these types of vehicles. Selected models include:

  • SUVs – Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.
  • Minivans – Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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