Auto Club: SoCal Driving Costs Six Percent Higher Than US Average

fifty and twenty dollar bills

Southern California car owners pay about six percent more on average per year to operate a vehicle than the national average, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, which just released its Southern California supplement to AAA’s 2015 “Your Driving Costs.” The local and annual national studies analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle.  


Nationwide, AAA showed it cost 58 cents per mile, or $8,698 per year, to own and operate a vehicle based on 15,000 annual miles of driving. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center determined that it costs Southern Californians 61.5 cents per mile, or $9,226 annually –six percent more- based on the same 15,000 miles, according to the center’s Chief Automotive Engineer Steve Mazor.


Regional costs were calculated by averaging 15 makes of 2015 small, medium and large sedans equipped with standard features and some optional equipment.  The Southern California fuel price used was $3.56 a gallon, which represents price of regular self-serve averaged over the last six months  of 2014 and early 2015.   


“Higher fuel prices than in other parts of the nation continue to play a key role locally in the Auto Club’s “‘Your Driving Costs’ Southern California Supplement’ but the cost of operating a vehicle fell as fuel costs dropped earlier this spring,” said Mazor. “Paying more at the pump continues to be a key operational cost of vehicle ownership in the Southland,” he added.


The 2015 edition of AAA’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure includes in-depth information on five categories of vehicles and is available at select local AAA branches or may be downloaded at  Ownership costs factored include the cost of insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Operational costs include fuel, maintenance and tires.


Southern California Average Costs:

For gasoline, maintenance and tires, 18.71 cents per mile

For ownership costs including insurance, license, registration, taxes and depreciation and finance charges based on 15,000 miles: $6,419 or year or $17.59 per day    


2015 Total Cost Per Mile:

10,000 miles per year: 80.4 cents

15,000 miles per year: 61.5 cents

20,000 miles per year: 51.8 cents