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Cost to Own, Operate Vehicle in California is Higher than National Average

(LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5, 2010) –  The Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center has released a Southern California supplement to AAA’s 2010 “Your Driving Costs” annual national survey that analyzes the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S.  The Southland supplement was designed to help motorists calculate driving costs here.  The cost calculation is being released during October - AAA Car Care Month to encourage drivers to keep their vehicle well-maintained to minimize fuel use and maximize operational value.
Earlier this year, the national AAA study showed it cost 56.6 cents per mile, or $8,487 per year, to own and operate a vehicle based on 15,000 annual miles of driving. The Automotive Research Center determined that it costs Southern Californians 61 cents per mile, or $9,157, based on the same 15,000 miles, or approximately 7.8 percent more than elsewhere, according to the center’s Manager and Chief Automotive Engineer Steve Mazor.
The regional costs were calculated by averaging 15 makes of 2010 small, medium and large sedans equipped with standard features and some optional equipment.  The Southern California fuel price used was $3.08 a gallon, which represents the first six months of 2010’s average for self-serve regular unleaded. 
“Higher fuel prices are a key factor locally in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ supplement as was the case in the national survey,” said Mazor. “Paying more at the pump is increasing the operational cost of vehicle ownership in the Southland,” he added.
The supplement and the 2010 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, 18.81 cents
For ownership costs including insurance, license, registration, taxes and depreciation and finance charges based on 15,000 miles: $6,336.
Total Cost Per Mile:
10,000 miles per year: 79.6 cents
15,000 miles per year: 61.0 cents
20,000 miles per year: 51.5 cents
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 Cobalt, 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.
CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.