New-car prices have gone up, and that means that the cost of owning and operating that new car has escalated as well - by $210 to $280 per year depending on vehicle size.
And neither pickup trucks nor minivans have escaped the increase, as the cost of owning and operating a sport-utility has risen by $220, a minivan by $200.To put the cost of vehicle ownership into perspective, the owner of a subcompact 1995 car will spend $4,260, the owner of a midsize car $4,890, the owner of a full-size car $6,050, the owner of a sport-utility $4,230 and the owner of a minivan $5,110 to own and operate that machine a year.
In bite-size form, car ownership runs from 42.6 cents a mile for a subcompact to 60.5 cents for a full-size model, and from 42.3 cents a mile for a pickup to 51.1 cents a mile for a minivan.
Those are the cost estimates from the annual study conducted for the American Automobile Association by Runzheimer & Co., the based consulting firm based in Rochester, Wis., that specializes in automotive expenses.
Here's how the costs look based on vehicle size, with Runzheimer using a subcompact Ford Escort, a midsize Ford Taurus, a full-size Chevrolet Caprice, a compact Ford Ranger pickup and a Dodge Caravan minivan as its benchmark vehicles over 10,000 miles of annual driving.
Each was equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes with anti-lock, driver-side air bag, cruise control, tilt steering, tinted glass and rear window defogger.
The owner of a subcompact car will spend 42.6 cents a mile, or $4,260 a year, to own and operate his or her car, up from 39.8 cents a mile, or $3,980 a year, in 1994 - a $280 increase.
The owner of a midsize car will spend 48.9 cents a mile, or $4,890 a year, for the 1995, up from 46.6 cents a mile, or $4,660 a year, for the 1994 - a $230 increase.
The owner of a full-size car will spend 60.5 cents a mile, or $6,050 a year, for the 1995, up from 58.4 cents a mile, or $5,840 a year, for the 1994 - a $210 increase.
The owner of a compact pickup truck will spend 42.3 cents a mile, or $4,230 a year, on the 1995 model, up from 40.1 cents, or $4,010 a year, for the 1994 - a $220 increase.
And the owner of a minivan will spend 51.1 cents a mile, or $5,110 a year, for the 1995, up from 49.1 cents a mile, or $4,910 a year, for the 1994 - a $200 increase.
The average cost to own and operate any 1995 model car is 50.6 cents a mile, or $5,060 a year, up from 48.3 cents a mile and $4,830 a year for any 1994 model - a $230 increase.
According to the Runzheimer figures, it costs less to own and operate a compact pickup truck than a subcompact car, and more to own and operate a minivan than a midsize car, yet less than a full-size car.
Runzheimer didn't calculate costs for a sport-utility vehicle, the current rage.
Runzheimer based its calculations on operating, or variable, costs for gasoline, oil, maintenance and tires; and ownership, or fixed, costs for insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges for 10,000 miles a year and four years of ownership.
Ownership costs don't take into account such expenses as tolls and/or parking fees, which could add hundreds more to the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle.
For a free copy of the AAA study, send a self-address stamped envelope to "Your Driving Costs" P.O. Box 75, 1000 AAA Drive, Heathrow, FL 32746-5063.