AARP Driving Resource Center

Cost to Operate a Vehicle

Do you know what your car is costing you?

Most people underestimate the cost of owning a vehicle. They may count monthly payments, regular operating expenses and maintenance, but too many people forget about other major costs such as depreciation and insurance.

See also: 12 ways to save on car expenses

The following expenses must be included to calculate the true yearly cost of owning a vehicle.

  • Vehicle expenses
  • Monthly purchase payments or lease payments
  • Regular operating expenses (gasoline, parking and tolls)
  • Regular or long-term maintenance (oil changes, tune-ups, repairs and parts)
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Depreciation
  • Registration or license fees
  • Inspections or emissions fees

Of course, your own vehicle costs can vary quite a bit depending on how old the vehicle is and how many miles it is driven and under what conditions. Whether the vehicle is purchased or leased is another important factor.

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