Driving costs up more than 2 cents

Driving costs up more than 2 cents The average cost of driving a car in 2000 will be nearly 50 cents per mile, up 2.1 cents from last year, according to AAA. Driving costs are up due to higher fuel prices and rising new vehicle depreciation and finance costs.

AAA's annual "Your Driving Costs" study reports motorists driving 15,000 miles this year will spend an average of $7,363 on auto-related expenses, up $313 since 1999.

The increase is mainly due to higher operating costs � gas and oil, maintenance and tires � which increased 1.6 cents per mile as a result of rising fuel prices. Since the increase in fuel prices through the first three months of 2000 was not captured by this study, operating costs are somewhat understated in this report.

AAA's cost estimates are based on computations made by Runzheimer International of Rochester, WI, a management consulting firm specializing in transportation, travel and living costs.

Fixed ownership costs such as insurance, depreciation, financing, license and registration also increased this year, up by 20 cents per day to $15.16. The largest increase in ownership costs for the year was for depreciation, which increased by $56 to $3,492 annually.

AAA's cost figures are based on a composite national average of three domestically built 2000 cars � a subcompact Chevrolet Cavalier LS, a mid-size Ford Taurus SE and a full-size Mercury Grand Marquis GS.

These similarly equipped vehicles include air conditioning, automatic transmission, power steering, AM/FM stereo, dual air bags, antilock brakes, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, tinted glass and a rear-window defogger. The costs are based on a four-year/60,000 miles ownership period.

The study also included driving costs for sport-utility vehicles and minivans. AAA says the cost to drive a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer is 49.6 cents per mile, down 4.2 cents from last year. The driving costs for a Dodge Caravan SE are 44.4 cents per mile, down 4.4 cents per mile from one year ago. The information on the Chevrolet Blazer and Dodge Caravan is not used to determine the composite national average, but is included in the report to help buyers estimate driving costs for these vehicles.

Driving costs in the study are reflective of personal driving and are significantly different from costs typically used to determine reimbursement for business-related use of a personal vehicle.

A free pamphlet, "Your Driving Costs," is available at any AAA office in South Dakota, or by calling 1-800-222-4545.

AAA is a not for profit federation of 86 clubs with 1,100 offices providing 42 million members in the United States and Canada with travel, insurance, financial and auto-related services. AAA South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Madison, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sioux Falls (3), Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

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