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AAA Study Reveals Annual Driving Costs

Despite higher costs, Carolinians continue to remain loyal to pickup trucks.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 24, 2017) – A new AAA study reveals the cost of owning a 2017 vehicle – with the average cost coming out to $8,469 per year. Of the nine types of cars reviewed (which is four more than the previous years), small sedans have proven to be the lowest cost with an average of $6,354 per year. There are three more ringing in lower than the average – with small SUVs at $7,606, hybrids at $7,687, and electric vehicles at $8,439. At the highest end of the spectrum is the pickup truck costing an average of $10,054.

This study renders important to the Carolinas, as North Carolina has ranked 9th out of 50 in total number of registered vehicles, with 3,439,151 and South Carolina has ranked 24th with 1,784,005 – according to the most recent 2015 Statista poll.

In addition to a high volume of registered vehicles, both states are seeing a jump in the amount of miles driven annually. In North Carolina, vehicle miles traveled reached 116,437,000,000 in 2016 – a 4 percent increase. South Carolina’s mileage rose as well, hitting 54,403,528,023 in 2016 – a five percent jump from the year before, according to the North and South Carolina Department of Transportation’s respectfully.

Despite the increase in mileage, North and South Carolinians still favor pickup trucks. Even though AAA’s study deemed pickup trucks the most expensive to own and maintain, a report from Information Handling Services claims the new vehicle most frequently purchased is the Ford F-series.

“Despite our recent study, pickup trucks continue to be the top seller in the Carolinas, said AAA Carolinas President Dave Parsons. “What this says to us is that even though more people are leaning toward smaller vehicles nation-wide, Carolinians are not swayed by the higher costs of owning and maintaining a pickup truck. This trend could be due to the lower gas prices we have experienced in recent years or an increase in disposable income. Manufacturers are producing ‘light trucks’ that are getting impressive fuel economy.”

Below is the full list of AAA’s Your Driving Costs which categorizes by vehicle type.


To estimate the overall cost to own and operate a new vehicle, AAA evaluated 45 2017 model-year vehicles across nine categories and focused on mid-range, top-selling vehicles. AAA’s annual driving cost is based on a sales-weighted average of the individual costs for all of the vehicle types. Key findings include:

Depreciation — the declining value of a vehicle over time — is the biggest, and most often overlooked, expense associated with purchasing a new car. New vehicles lose an average of $15,000 in value during the first five years of ownership. In 2017, small sedans ($2,114) and small SUVs ($2,840) have the lowest annual depreciation costs, while minivans ($3,839) and electric vehicles ($5,704) are at the high end of the scale.

Maintenance and repair
To calculate annual maintenance and repair costs, AAA examined factory-recommended maintenance, replacement tires, extended warranty costs and services associated with typical wear-and-tear. New vehicles, on average, will cost a driver $1,186 per year to maintain and repair.
The inevitable costs associated with maintenance and repair should be an important consideration for car shoppers, as a recentAAA survey found that one-third of U.S. drivers could not afford an unexpected repair bill. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities offer free vehicle inspections, AAA member discounts and a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty for AAA members. to find a nearby facility.

Fuel costs vary significantly by vehicle type, ranging from 3.68 cents per mile (electric vehicles) to 13.88 cents per mile (pickup trucks). New vehicle owners, on average, will spend just over 10 cents per mile – about $1,500 annually — to fuel their vehicles.
For gasoline-powered vehicles, AAA recommends selecting a TOP TIER gasoline, as its independent research found it to keep engines 19 times cleaner, improving vehicle performance and fuel economy. AAA cautions drivers that using premium-grade gasoline in a vehicle that does not specifically require it is an unnecessary expense.

Electric Vehicles
New to the Your Driving Costs study in 2017, AAA found that electric vehicles have lower-than-average driving costs at $8,439 per year. Without a gasoline engine to maintain, electric vehicles have the lowest annual maintenance and repair costs, at $982 per year. By relying on electricity instead of gasoline, fuel costs are also significantly lower than average, at under four cents per mile. Depreciation, however, is currently extremely high for these vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000 in value every year.

A recent AAA survey revealed that 1-in-6 Americans are likely to choose an electric vehicle, the majority motivated by their lower long-term ownership costs.

“Although electric vehicles can have higher up-front costs, lower fuel and maintenance costs make them a surprisingly affordable choice in the long run,” said Nielsen. “For even lower costs, car shoppers can avoid high depreciation costs by selecting a used electric vehicle.”
With a focus on the future, the AAA Green Car Guide offers ratings of electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas‐powered (CNG), diesel and other high fuel economy vehicles. Visit for more.

Along with AAA’s car care centers – where motorists can take their vehicles to be serviced, AAA Carolinas additionally offers a car buying program – where our experienced automotive experts can find customers the perfect new or used vehicle.

AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

For more information on this press release, please contact:

Public Relations Manager
Tiffany Wright
Work : 704-737-8306
Cell : 704-569-7768