Automotive Maintenance

What it costs to drive a new car in 2024

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It’s easy to figure out how much it will cost to buy a car. It’s even displayed on the vehicle, hence the phrase “sticker price.” 

What’s harder is determining how much you’ll spend each year once fuel, auto insurance, maintenance, and other costs are factored in. To help provide answers, the AAA Your Driving Costs study investigates driving-related expenses each year to see which way they’re trending.1

This year, the total annual cost to drive a new vehicle 15,000 miles came out to $12,182, or about $1,000 per month.

The top 3 annual driving costs


3. Maintenance & repairs

The cost of keeping a car running smoothly (including factory-recommended maintenance, as well as the average cost of an extended warranty) comes in as the third-highest expense at about $1,425 per year. Note that the numbers vary widely among vehicle types.



2. Fuel

Gas is the most visible driving-related cost for those with gasoline and diesel cars. Ever-improving fuel efficiency is reflected in the study’s finding that new car owners, on average, will spend about $1,600 annually on fuel. This is based on data from May 2022 – May 2023. Drivers of electric vehicles enjoy the lowest fuel costs: The study found that the average EV driver will spend just $711 annually. 




1. Depreciation

Though far less conspicuous than gas or repairs, depreciation—the decline in the value of a car as it ages and racks up mileage—is the undisputed king of annual costs. The study found that electric cars can lose their value particularly quickly, as older used models frequently have shorter ranges or less capability than newer electric models.


Which cars cost most to drive?


Small sedans

It’s not surprising that small 4-door cars would be the best deal. With thriftier price tags and higher fuel efficiency, insurance and gas cost less. Examples include the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Corolla. 




Somewhat lower fuel costs and slightly higher sticker prices: This is the tradeoff of hybrids, and on average, it makes them cheaper to drive than their non-hybrid counterparts. Examples include the Ford Explorer Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq, and Toyota Prius. 



Subcompact SUVs

The popularity of SUVs has led to a boom in these small, fuel-efficient crossovers, which enjoy a low rate of depreciation. Examples include the Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, and Jeep Compass. 



Compact SUVs

Compact SUVs offer a blend of affordability and capability. Many keep costs down by using the same platforms as sedans. Examples include the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue. 

ANNUAL COST: $10,065


Electric vehicles

With no gasoline engine and no gas to buy, EVs greatly reduce annual maintenance and fuel costs. Depreciation hits them hard, though, averaging about $5,300 a year. Examples include the Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Tesla Model 3. 

ANNUAL COST: $10,111


Medium sedans

Medium-sized sedans come with medium-sized expenses—they fall in the middle of the pack on fuel cost, maintenance, and so on, though they're relatively expensive to insure. Examples include the Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. 

ANNUAL COST: $11,047


Medium SUVs

Midsize SUV affordability suffers from the current high price of gas, making them the third most expensive segment for drivers to own. Examples include the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Subaru Outback. 

ANNUAL COST: $11,971


Midsize pickups

As high-end pickups have gotten larger and more expensive, automakers have offered more mid-range pickups with better fuel economy. Examples include the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Honda Ridgeline.

ANNUAL COST: $12,258


Half-ton pickup trucks

With high fuel costs, high insurance premiums, and pricey maintenance (such as for 4-wheel drive), larger pickups rank as the most expensive vehicles to own. Examples include the Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. 

ANNUAL COST: $15,900

How to reduce your cost of driving


Reduce maintenance costs

Spending a little money on preventive maintenance now may save you an expensive repair down the road, so follow the manufacturer-recommended service schedule, and do your own regular checks of fluid levels and tire pressure, too.
Visit a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility if your car needs more extensive work—members receive a 10% discount on regularly priced parts and labor.2


Reduce fuel costs

One way to use less fuel is to make sure you're keeping your vehicle fuel-efficient. That means keeping the tires properly inflated, having your alignment checked, getting regular oil changes, eliminating excess weight in the car (e.g. rarely used sports equipment), and rolling up the windows when driving at high speed.

Another way is to buy a more efficient vehicle. Look for an all-new, eco-friendly ride in the AAA Car Guide if you’re in the market for the next level of fuel efficiency.


Reduce depreciation

As the saying goes, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates the average car is driven 13,500 miles a year, so drive less than that and your car will hold its value longer.
One easy way to put fewer miles on your car is to rent a car for road trips instead of taking your own. With Hertz, AAA members get up to 20% off rentals and free unlimited mileage on most rentals, plus many other benefits. 


Estimate the costs of your next car with AAA's Your Driving Cost Calculator

Get customized estimates of the total cost to own and drive a new or used car, as well as a categorical cost breakdown.

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