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AAA: The price of owning a car -- any car -- rose over the last year

April 8, 2010 |  5:53 pm

As with many things nowadays, the cost of owning a car went up over the last year, AAA said Thursday.

The average cost to operate a medium-sized automobile -- such as a Ford Fusion or a Honda Accord -- increased 4.8% in the last 12 months, according to AAA's annual "Your Driving Cost" study. Based on driving 15,000 miles a year, it costs 47.6 cents a mile, or $9,519 a year, to operate a mid-size car, the study said.

Other models haven't gotten any cheaper either. Small-car owners paid an average of 43.3 cents a mile, or $6,496 a year, on the same 15,000 miles-a-year scale, the study said. That category -- made up of Chevrolet Cobalts, Nissan Sentras and similar-sized rides -- rang up the smallest increase: 2.9%.

The most expensive type of vehicle to own was a four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle. AAA said Jeep Grand Cherokees, Toyota 4Runners and their kin cost an average of 73.9 cents a mile to operate, or $11,085 a year, a 10.7% increase from the previous year.

The increases can be attributed to rising prices for fuel, tires and insurance, the study said.

Tire prices inflated 9% over the last year, AAA said, while the average cost of auto insurance grew 5.7%. AAA surveys depreciation, financing, fuel, tires, maintenance, insurance and license and registration costs to put together its annual study.

AAA first conducted its "Your Driving Costs" study in 1950. Back then, driving a car 10,000 miles a year cost 9 cents a mile and gasoline sold for 27 cents a gallon.

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

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