2011 Chevy Volt - Click above for high-res image gallery

So many things are changing in the new automotive reality, it's hard to know where to start. Everything from the kind of hose we connect to our cars (liquid filled? electric?) to the sounds the vehicles make is different now than it used to be. What else needs to change? How about how we think about how much it costs to own and operate a car.

Naturally, it's always been possible to estimate this cost, but NADAguides.com has just released a "Cost To Own" calculator for new cars, so you can factor in fuel prices in your region into the cost of the car. It's entirely useful. For example, to own a 2010 Prius in Michigan for five years will cost an estimated $33,232. On top of the cost of the car, NADA tells us that the car will depreciation will make up 39 percent of the ownership costs, while fuel equals just 12 percent. A pie chart of the cost breakdown is pictured at right.

On a similar thread, Edmunds is recommending a shift away from MPG and towards a cost-of-energy window sticker on a new car. With all of those electric plugs being added to cars, MPG is becoming less and less valuable to understand how much it costs to get around. Two quick examples: per month, Edmunds estimates it'll cost $53.55 to drive the forthcoming Chevrolet Volt, but $66.78 to operate a Prius. Check out their chart here, and remember that according to a recent study, more efficient vehicles can (and often do) cost less.

[Source: NADAguides.com, Edmunds]


How Much Will That New Car Really Cost You Over Time? NADAguides.com Educates Consumers on Its Easy-to-Use 'Cost to Own' Tool

- Powerful Online Tool Analyzes Eight Key Factors to Estimate Five-Year Ownership Costs -

COSTA MESA, Calif., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- When consumers look to purchase a new vehicle, the price is usually the first thing they research before making the decision to buy. Although the Suggested Retail Price provides the consumer with the total cost for the purchase of the vehicle, one important factor is often overlooked - total cost to own. Depreciation, fees & taxes, financing, insurance, fuel, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs must also be added in to the cost of ownership. Most often, car shoppers only consider retail price and what their monthly payment will be. While these are, of course, very important car buying decision factors, additional costs are often overlooked.

To help car shoppers, NADAguides.com has built a tool to make this cost to own research easy and provide car shoppers with a quick view of the cost of ownership for a specific car over the course of five years. The NADAguides.com Cost to Own Tool factors in the eight most important costs associated with car ownership - depreciation, fees & taxes, financing, insurance, fuel, maintenance, opportunity cost, and repairs - to give new car shoppers an accurate forecast of how much they can expect to pay and what they can really afford.

"There are many things affecting the actual cost of owning a vehicle that can be overwhelming for consumers to see the true price tag of the car they are considering," said Mike Caudill, NADAguides.com automotive expert and spokesperson. "The NADAguides.com Cost to Own Tool removes all of the guesswork. Shoppers simply select the vehicle and trim level, enter their number of years of driving experience, the number of miles they expect to drive each year and their ZIP code and what results is a detailed report of costs along with visual aids to get a clear picture. These results can even be compared against other vehicles."

After consumers input this basic information, the NADAguides Cost to Own Tool shows the overall five-year cost of ownership in addition to a complete breakdown of the cost associated with each factor for each of the five years.

To access this tool, visit www.NADAguides.com and click 'Cost to Own' on the home page or select '5-Year Ownership Costs' from the left-side menu of any new car vehicle details page.

About NADAguides.com

NADAguides.com (http://www.nadaguides.com/) is the largest publisher of vehicle pricing and information for new and used cars, classic cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and manufactured homes. NADAguides.com offers in-depth shopping and research tools in addition to the most market-reflective pricing available. The company also produces print guidebooks, software, web services, raw data and web syndicated products

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