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Driving Costs are Down in 2014 [AUDIO]

Despite the rough winter, the cost of driving is down 2.7 percent this year, according to AAA’s annual “Your Driving Costs” study.

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The study found that the cost to own and operate a sedan in the United States fell 1.64 cents to 59.2 cents per mile, or $8,876 per year, based on 15,000 miles of annual driving. The drop is attributed to a drop in fourth quarter gas prices and increased fuel economy.

Fuel costs had the single largest percentage decrease from 2013 to 2014, declining 10.04 percent to 13 cents per mile. At the same time, vehicle redesigns and improved power train technologies have resulted in better fuel economy. After several years of increases due to the cost for materials, tire prices for 2014 are down 3 percent as a result of automakers equipping vehicles with less expensive rubber.

Insurance premiums are down slightly as well, about 0.58 percent. While insurance rates vary by driver, driving record and location, this year the average annual cost for insurance is $1,023 compared to $1,029 last year. Maintenance and registration fees were the only areas where drivers saw an increase.

“As vehicles have better fuel mileage and as the cost for fuel goes down, that obviously helps to lower the cost of maintaining your vehicle,” said Cathleen Lewis, spokesperson for AAA New Jersey. “It does cost a little bit more in terms of labor and repairs, but with the fuel, tire and insurance costs coming down, that really helps to drive the overall cost down.”

Of course, expenses vary widely depending on the type and size of vehicle you own.

“In New Jersey, there are many people who drive SUVs,” Lewis said. “The average cost per year for maintaining your SUV is $11,039, or 73.6 cents a mile.”

AAA has published the Your Driving Costs study since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

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