The pains many automobile owners are feeling at their local service station isn't just at the pump -- prices for general maintenance is also increasing. Petroleum based products, such as oil and tires, are heading north with the price of gasoline. Demand for steel has also pushed up prices on various automotive parts. That means consumers are seeing larger bills from their auto repair specialists, even when their exhaust doesn't require three people to install. Instead, many are choosing to squeeze pennies and skimp on elaborate repairs in order to stay on the road. AAA says in 2008 the average vehicle owner will spend $8,121 to operate their automobile. That is up nearly $300 from last year. The only ease in operational expenses could come from the insurance industry. As costs increase, people drive less and less, which should subsequently lead to fewer accidents and lower premiums.

[Source: Detroit News]