AAA says owning a car is more expensive than ever, here's what it costs

The cost to own a car is higher than ever, according to the latest report on the subject from AAA.

The average annual outlay is now $9,282, which is the most in the study’s history and up from $8849 in 2018.

AAA said a 24 percent increase in financing charges is largely to blame, but that depreciation, fuel and maintenance costs have also gotten worse.

Even electric cars saw a tiny bump in energy costs but had the lowest maintenance at 6.6 cents per mile compared to an average of 8.94 cents.

The organization suggests the following tips for reducing the cost of ownership:

  • Set a budget before you buy and don't go over it
  • Get the shortest loan term you can handle
  • The best times to buy are the last two weeks of December, between July and October and always near the end of a month.
  • Gently used cars can offer significantly reduced purchase and insurance costs.
  • Dealer discounts are sometimes available to members of AAA and other organizations.

Here is a list of the average costs for each vehicle segment:

Small Sedan:      $7,114

Hybrid:                $7,736

Electric:              $8,320

Small SUV:         $8,394

Medium Sedan:  $8,643

Medium SUV:     $10,265

Large Sedan:      $10,403

Pickup:                $10,839

Get updates on this story at