Th Cost of Car Ownership

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The Cost of Car Ownership

The Cost of Car Ownership

The cost of car ownership is different for every person and every vehicle. There are multiple costs that add up to the total cost of car ownership, and several factors that can affect each of these costs differently. It all adds up quickly, but knowing what to expect can give you a realistic idea of the total cost so you can factor that into your budget ahead of time. We’re here to help guide you through the different costs of car ownership and how those may vary for you or your vehicle.



You may not realize it, but the single largest car ownership expense is how much value the car loses each year. Depreciation is the decline in an asset’s value over time, particularly due to wear and tear. New cars can lose up to 20% of their value in the first year, and around 40% over the first five years. Of course avoiding normal wear and tear is impossible, but keeping your car in great condition can benefit you when you’re ready to trade it in or sell it. You can use our J.D. Power Value tool to determine your car’s value.



On average, fuel is the second-largest cost of vehicle ownership, making up approximately 25% of ownership costs. It’s no secret that fuel costs can really add up, especially when gas prices are on the rise. You can estimate annual fuel costs by dividing your miles driven per month by your vehicle’s miles per gallon, then multiply that number by the price per gallon in your area. Here’s an example:

  • The average driver in Georgia drives approximately 18,000 miles per year, or 1,500 miles per month.
  • The average miles per gallon in the US is 35 mpg
  • The current average price of gas in Georgia is $3.25
  • So you would take 18,000 miles per year divided by 35 miles per gallon, and multiply that by $3.25 gas price
  • (18,000 / 35) x $3.25 = $1,671.43
  • So you can expect to spend approximately $1,600 on gas in a year, which divides down to about $130 per month
  • Average fuel cost in GA: $1,600 per year / $130 per month



The amount you pay each month to repay your financed auto loan will be based on factors like if your car is new or used, your down payment amount, your interest rate, and your loan term (the length of the loan). Your interest rate will vary depending on if you choose a fixed rate or a variable rate, as well as your credit. You can use our financial calculators to help you get an estimate of your monthly auto loan payment.

The current average monthly payment is $667 for new cars and $515 for used, according to Bankrate.



Auto insurance protects you and your asset in the event of financial loss, such as if your car is stolen or damaged in an accident. Car insurance is required in 49 of the 50 states. Many factors go into determining your insurance costs, including what city you live in, how often you drive your vehicle, your age, your credit, and more. There are also different types of car insurance coverage available, such as liability, comprehensive, collision, and GAP insurance. It’s important to shop around for the best insurance provider and policy to meet your needs and your budget. The current average cost of car insurance in Georgia is around $650 for minimum coverage and around $2,000 for full coverage, according to Bankrate.


Title, Registration, Taxes, and Other Fees

This includes your vehicle title and registration fees, state and local sales taxes, and any other applicable fees. The total cost of these fees will vary depending on where you buy the car, the type and age of the vehicle, and several other factors.


Maintenance and Repairs

Much of the cost of car ownership is upfront expenses, like the down payment, financing costs, taxes and fees. But it’s important to factor in the ongoing costs of car ownership, including regular maintenance and repairs as needed, like getting your oil changed regularly, having your tires rotated and eventually replaced.

Of course, we’re not able to predict when major car repairs are right down the road; that’s why having an emergency fund comes in handy to help you cover those unexpected expenses. Our savings and certificate accounts are a great way to help you start or build your emergency savings fund so your money is there when you need it.

Any other repairs that may pop up are all things that need to be included in your overall vehicle budget. AAA estimates average vehicle maintenance costs to be around $800 annually.


Total Costs

As you can see, all of these costs add up! Use this guide to help you calculate the total cost of car ownership for you. You can also use this guide to help you compare costs of different vehicles as you shop around before committing to your final choice so you have a better idea of your cost of ownership for that vehicle!


When you’re ready to buy your next car, we’ll be here to walk you through the process and show how you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your next vehicle purchase. With great rates, no hidden fees, and convenient payment options, our Auto Loans make buying a car easy and affordable. Our Auto Loan Calculators along with this guide will help you determine how much you can afford. If you’re ready to start the car buying process, apply for an auto loan online, over the phone, or request an appointment at one of our branches.




At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed.


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