AAA: Cost of driving slightly higher in 2012


(CBS News) The largest car club in the nation released their annual report on the cost of driving this Friday, revealing a slight increase compared to 2011. Unsurprisingly, the cost of fuel was the main driver in the increase. But even though fuel costs rose 14.8-percent, the cost of owning and operation a vehicle only rose 1.9-percent, according to AAA.

"The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas," said Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations for AAA New York. "Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9 percent."

The report, officially known as the "Your Driving Costs" study, found that the average cost for owning and operating a sedan worked out to 59.6 cents per mile. A typical SUV cost 75.7 cents and minivans checked in at 63.4 cents per mile. These numbers are based on driving 15,000 miles over the course of the year.

By far the largest increase from 2011 to 2012 was the cost of fuel. The national average for gas rose 16.6-percent, from $2.880 to $3.357 per gallon. This increase was slightly offset by the fact that more and more drivers are choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Maintenance costs, insurance and the price of tires are all slightly higher than they were a year ago. The biggest drop was in depreciation costs. AAA found depreciation falling across the board by nearly five percent. This change may be a consequence of reduced new car sales over the past few years, which has resulted in a relative shortage of good used cars on the market, driving up their value.

AAA has published "Your Driving Costs" every year since 1950, when driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and the price of gas was 27 cents per gallon.