Driving Costs Increase Again For South Carolina Motorists | Transportation
South Carolina motorists will once again pay higher annual driving costs than the previous year, as operating costs and the vehicles themselves continues to inch upward.
The owner of an average sedan in the state can expect to pay $10,049 in 2012 to drive based on current prices, compared to $9,540 last year driving 15,000 miles a year.
The total costs include insurance, maintenance, gasoline, tires, taxes, registration, depreciation and finance charges, based on driving 15,000 miles a year.
Prices at the pump are currently slightly less than last year. The current price of a gallon of regular unleaded is at $3.587 in South Carolina, versus $3.704 at the same time in 2011. Costs for a new vehicle also rose in 2012, with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the average sedan set at $25,067, versus $23,099 in 2011.
Motorists can expect to pay an average of 67 cents per mile in 2012, a three-cent increase over 2011, if gasoline prices remain steady.
“Higher vehicle costs are impacting drivers in South Carolina, because that translates into higher finance charges and depreciation costs,” said Dave Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “At a time when many Carolinians are still struggling financially, the cost of driving is at its highest level in more than a decade.”
AAA suggestions on how to improve gas mileage are attached.
One bright spot for motorists is the cost of insurance premiums for sedans, which fell from $649 annually in 2011 to $598 this year.
Driving costs for motorists with minivans and SUVs remained relatively unchanged from 2011. SUV drivers can expect to pay an average of 81 cents per mile in 2012 and minivan owners will pay 73 cents.
AAA’s annual driving cost analysis informs motorists of operating expenses and the real costs of operating an automobile. Behind depreciation, the next most expensive category is operating costs, which includes gas, maintenance and tires. (See attached chart).
AAA compared the cost of vehicles in five separate categories: small, medium and large sedans, as well as SUVs and minivans. The cumulative final estimate in this release is based on an average of the three sedan categories.
AAA’s analysis uses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised fuel-economy estimates intended to better reflect “real world” conditions as opposed to laboratory tests.
Annual driving costs calculations use standardized criteria designed to model the average use of a vehicle for personal transportation over five years and 75,000 miles of ownership. Actual driving costs will vary based on individual driving habits, location, operating costs and other factors.
A national pamphlet, “Your Driving Costs,” is available through AAA Carolinas by calling 704-569-7883. The pamphlet provides detailed information on the costs associated with owning and operating a vehicle nationally.
The South Carolina calculation is attached to this release.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, was founded in 1922 as a not-for-profit organization that now serves more than 1.8 million members with travel, car care, insurance and automobile services while being an advocate for the safety and security of travelers.
GASOLINE SAVING TIPS
To get the best gasoline mileage, AAA recommends:
• Cool the pedal. Your gas mileage is cut by 10 percent for every 5 miles per hour over 65; drive a safer 65 mph rather than 75 mph and save money.
• Let your car breathe. A clogged air filter can cut mileage by 10 percent, a faulty oxygen sensor by up to 40 percent.
• Take the junk out of the trunk. Having an extra 100 pounds in the trunk can cut fuel economy by about 1 percent.
• Check the pressure. For every three pounds below your tires’ recommended pressure, fuel economy drops about 1 percent.
• Consolidate trips, such as grocery shopping, medical appointment and picking kids up from school.
• Search out the cheapest gas prices along your daily commute route. Off-brands often have lower prices than major brands.
• Use cruise control whenever possible for highway trips to maintain steady speed and achieve the best fuel economy.
UNDERSTANDING THE CALCULATIONS:
ADDITIONAL 2012 DRIVING COST INFORMATION FOR MEDIA
AAA’s calculations are based on both operating and ownership costs that include:
* Operating Costs: Fuel, Maintenance and Tires
* Ownership Costs: Insurance, License, Registration, Taxes, Depreciation and Financing
The costs are based on typical use of a vehicle for personal transportation over five years and 75,000 miles of ownership. Fuel costs were based on $3.587 per gallon, as reported by the AAA Fuel Gauge Report (AAAFuelGaugeReport.com <http://AAAfuelgaugereport.com> ) on May 1, 2012.
AAA Carolinas’ analysis covers vehicles equipped with standard and optional equipment. The driving costs in each category are based on the average expenses for a representative model selected by AAA, which are:
* Small Sedan: Toyota Corolla
* Medium Sedan: Honda Accord
* Large Sedans: Buick Lucerne
* SUV: Ford Explorer
* Minivan: Kia Sedona
The AAA national hard copy of the “Your Driving Costs” brochure is available upon request, and subject to availability, from AAA Carolinas by calling toll-free 1-866-741-6668.