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 made in 2005 to now) online from the True Cost to Own reporter.

2. Calculate your actual car costs

Fill out what you know or can find, and estimate the rest. You can also print a Total Cost of Car worksheet.

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.

Type of Car Cost
Total purchase price (incl. add-ons, sales tax, loan interest)divided by years you expect to own the vehicle, minus estimated value at time of expected trade-in or resale. OR
Total lease price per year, (incl. any fees, etc.)
NYS registration รท 2
NYS inspection
Total insurance cost per year
Gasoline cost per week x 52
or per month x 12
Oil change for every 3,000 miles driven
Flush/replace fluids, coolants
Cost of new tires, snow tires, rotating, filling, etc.
Brakes and alignment
Transmission, other repairs
Parking and toll costs per year
Average cost of tickets in a year
Cost of car washes
AAA or other car club/roadside assistance
Car accessories such as GPS, car seats, etc.
Add all the above for Total Cost per Year
Divide cost per year by 12 for Cost per Month
Divide cost per year by 365 for Cost per Day

Last updated July 26, 2019