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AAA says jump in maintenance bills drives increase in car operating costs

April 15, 2013|By Ronald D. White
  • James Rhymes works on a car at the Fort Lee, Va., Auto Craft Shop. The AAA says maintenance bills drove the rise in car operating costs between 2012 and 2013.
James Rhymes works on a car at the Fort Lee, Va., Auto Craft Shop. The AAA says… (Patrick Kane / Progress-Index…)

An 11.3% jump in maintenance bills was the primary driver behind an increase in car operating costs from 2012 to 2013, according to the AAA's annual "Your Driving Costs" study.

Despite that, overall operating costs for the average family sedan were up less than 2% in what was described as a very modest rise.

The AAA pegged the cost per mile of the average family sedan at 60.8 cents, which works out to about $9,122 in annual costs.

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"The cost of operating your car has only risen by a very small amount," the AAA's Steve Mazor said in an interview. Mazor is the manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center.

"In the past, the increases have been much more significant," Mazor said.

Mazor said that rising costs for labor and parts were the primary reason for the jump in maintenance bills. He added that vehicle age was also a factor.

"The average car today is 11 years old," Mazor said. Maintenance costs were less than 5 cents per mile.

Fuel costs (14.45 cents per mile) climbed just over 1.9%, the AAA said.

Insurance costs were up 2.8%. Tire costs were unchanged.

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