It’s Cheaper to Own and Drive a Car in 2016
Pleasant prices at the pump helped driving costs hit a six-year low in 2016.
According to the Your Driving Costs study from AAA, the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle fell about $140 from last year to a total of $8,558, or $713 per month.
Yes, that's actually considered a low number.
The study takes into account insurance, depreciation, maintenance, taxes, fees attached to your license and registration, finance charges and tires. Every single one of those measures actually increased in price over the past year.
But one other measure — gasoline prices — offset every increase and paved the way for a cheaper year on the road.
"Because fuel has been down for the past year, it's a savings of $414 in fuel costs that goes into this number," said Tracy Noble, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "We've seen cheap gas prices across the country this year that we haven't seen in several years."
As of late Thursday, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in New Jersey came in at $1.87, compared to $2.15 one year ago.
According to Noble, if you want to chop costs even further, make sure you're driving a vehicle that best suits your needs.
"If you're a family of two, you don't necessarily need a monstrous SUV that's a gas guzzler," she said. "In addition to the higher fuel costs, you're going to have much higher gas payments, maintenance payments."
To give your vehicle some extra mileage out of the tank:
- Keep the tires properly inflated.
- Don't stomp on the gas and brake pedals. Nice, easy acceleration gets you further.
- In the colder months, try to avoid long warm-ups.
- In the warmer months, air conditioning creates less drag on an engine than driving with the windows down.