price signs in a car windshield in an auto sales lot, way2go
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Your car's true price tag may surprise you.

Your Car Costs

Owning and using a car or truck is a big expense. Most people tend to underestimate the total cost to buy and use a private vehicle, including gas, insurance, car care and repairs, car accessories, parking, tickets and tolls. The good news is that by carpooling and sharing rides you can drastically cut your costs, while building community and maybe even having more fun!

Knowledge is Power

Though your car's true price tag may surprise you, getting the facts can help you take charge. Knowing how much you spend can help you compare costs and weigh options like ridesharing, carsharing or vanpooling; walking, bicycling or taking the bus; or even moving closer to work or letting go of a car altogether.

Below find an average cost for your vehicle, or estimate your actual costs. These estimates do not include carbon costs of building or using cars, road construction and repair, etc.

1. Use an average

Every year AAA produces an estimate of the annual cost of car ownership

AAA cost of car ownership graphic

YOUR CAR: Find average costs for your make and model (for cars 6 years old or newer) online from the True Cost to Own reporter.

2. Calculate your actual car costs

To calculate gas cost, add what you spend in a typical week and multiply that by 52, or add up what you spend in a typical month and multiply by 12. Don't forget to include vacations or other road trips.

For repairs, maintenance or other costs you only spend every other years, divide by two; every three years divide by three, and so on.

To Determine Purchase Price Cost per Year:
Total Purchase Price (including add-ons, sales tax, loan interest, etc.)
Divide by the number of years you expect to own the vehicle
Subtract the extimated value of the vehicle at the expected time of trade-in or resale

Add the following costs to determine Total Cost per Year. Divide by 12 to determine monthly cost.
Total Purchase Price per Year OR Total Lease Cost per Year
NYS Registration (divided by 2)
NYS Inspection
Total Insurance Cost per Year
Gasoline Cost per Year
Oil Change Cost per Year (every 3,000 miles)
Flush/Replace Fluids/Coolants
Cost of New Tires, Snow Tires, Rotating, Filling, etc.
Brakes and Alignment
Transmission and Other Repairs
Parking and Toll Costs per Year
Average Cost of Tickets per Year
Cost of Car Washes
AAA or Other Car Club/Roadside Assistance
Car Accessories (GPS, Car Seats, etc.)

Last updated July 27, 2020