New car ownership costs highest yet according to AAA

Small cars, hybrids and EVs are the most affordable

According to an annual study by AAA, new car ownership has reached a new high since the organization began tracking costs in 1950. The new annual average cost is $9,282, or $773.50 per month, based on owners driving 15,000 miles per year. AAA says the increase is mainly from rising finance costs such as higher interest rates and longer loans. The finance portion of the annual vehicle cost rose 24% this year compared to 2018.

While the average cost is now $9,282 per year, the amount of money you'll spend will vary quite a bit depending on the car you get. The most affordable new cars are small gas-powered cars with an average cost of $7,114 per year. At the other end of the spectrum are pickup trucks with an average annual cost of $10,839. You can see all the classes analyzed below from least expensive to most expensive

  • Small Sedan: $7,114
  • Hybrid: $7,736
  • EV: $8,320
  • Small SUV: $8,394
  • Medium Sedan: $8,643
  • Medium SUV: $10,265
  • Large Sedan: $10,403
  • Pickup Truck: $10,839

Looking at the breakdown of costs, one of the big advantages of small cars is that they're much more fuel efficient than larger cars, dramatically reducing fuel costs. That also helps hybrids and EVs, but they suffer from greater depreciation and higher initial prices that bring up financing costs. Electric cars also see the greatest depreciation of any vehicle segment at $5,250 per year at the 15,000 mile a year driving rate. As vehicles get larger, the costs go up with higher prices, more fuel consumption, and frequently more depreciation. You can find a more detailed breakdown of costs at the AAA site.

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