Shopping for a new vehicle requires a birds-eye view of the true cost of vehicle ownership. You pay money for the car -- monthly if you finance the vehicle. The car costs money each month in auto insurance and gasoline. In addition, you have quarterly and yearly costs for maintenance and property taxes. According to AAA Newsroom, it costs $8,946 per year for a sedan or $745 per month, as of 2012.
Financing your vehicle is an easy way to get an expensive car without paying out-of-pocket. You receive a loan from a financial institution and make monthly payments to pay the car off. According to Yahoo! Finance, the average new car costs $30,500 and approximately $550 per month, as of 2013. Finance a cheaper, used car and you’ll pay less. Your monthly payment also depends on your interest rate and whether you put a down payment on the vehicle.
State statute requires a specific level of coverage for all vehicles on the road. For example, in Arizona you must carry $15,000 bodily injury liability for one person and $30,000 for two persons. You also need $10,000 in property damage liability. According to CarsDirect, the average six-month car insurance premium for ages 50 to 59 is $859.50 or $143.25 per month, as of 2012.
Your car is useless without filling up at the pump. With fluctuating gas prices, its impossible to assign a monetary figure to the average monthly cost of gassing up your car. According to The Washington Times, the average consumer spends four percent of his budget on gasoline for his vehicle. Your type of car factors heavily into this figure, with gas-sippers such as the Toyota Prius costing less in gas than a gas-guzzling SUV.
Quarterly and Annual Expenses
In addition to the monthly expenses you incur, you must factor in maintenance costs and property taxes. Many municipalities charge personal property taxes on automobiles on an annual basis, which could cost you hundreds of dollars. You also need regular oil changes, replacing of air filters and tire maintenance on your vehicle. According to AAA Newsroom, its costs approximately $4.47 per mile for maintenance on your vehicle for a sedan, as of 2012.
- AAA: Cost of Owning and Operating Vehicle in U.S. Increased 1.9 Percent According to AAA’s 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study
- Yahoo! Finance: New Cars Increasingly Out of Reach for Many Americans
- CarsDirect: The Average Car Insurance Rates by Age
- The Washington Times: Americans Spent Largest Chunk of Household Budgets on Gas in Three Decades
- Arizona Department of Transportation: Mandatory Insurance
Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.