Buying a vehicle can be exciting, fun, stressful and confusing; no matter how you view the experience, for many of us it is simply necessary. Like it or not, reliable vehicles for transportation are a necessity unless public transportation is available for every trip. One thing many vehicle owners don’t give enough thought to is the long term cost of the car they choose to buy. The yearly price of owning a car is hefty, and it’s on the increase.
The AAA recently looked into the costs of owning different types of vehicles. They found that the small sedans are the most economical, costing their owners $6,967 annually. The more expensive vehicles were the four wheel drive SUVs, which came in at almost twice that–$11,599 a year. Surprisingly, large sedans cost their owners just as much at around $11,000 annually. Downsizing can save drivers thousands a year on maintenance, gasoline, etc.
Another excellent way to save some cash is to drive safely to pay less on insurance. Some factors can’t be helped, such as location and age, but a clean driving record helps to keep insurance premiums low. Some safe drivers even see their premiums decrease from year to year.
Additionally, buying a used vehicle may not seem as exciting as bringing home a brand new one, but it can save money in the long run. For example, Edmunds.com compared the costs of leasing or buying a 2013 Honda and a used 2010 Accord EX. The used vehicle after 6 years totaled $20,960 in costs. Leasing totaled $24,768, and the new car’s totals after six years was $28,330. Leasing does save in maintenance and repairs, but insurance costs much less on an older used car.
For many people, the best way to save money on vehicles is to simply drive them less often. Fuel economy standards are improving steadily over time, but fuel costs still rise sharply from time to time. Where possible, people are using public transportation more frequently as well as car sharing programs, carpooling and other methods of getting from place to place to minimize the annual cost of owning vehicles. These cost saving methods also fall in line nicely with growing environmental concerns and efforts to reduce emissions.