The annual average costs to own and operate a sedan in the USA, based on 15,000 miles of driving per year, are predicted to rise 1.9%, according to AAA. The motor club released its 2012 “Your Driving Costs” study Tuesday.
However, there is good news for drivers in the Palmetto State as— for the first time in four years— South Carolina motorists will pay lower annual driving costs than the previous year. AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Angela Vogel Daley says South Carolina’s gas prices are about 40 to 45 cents lower than at this time last year (currently $3.22 for regular unleaded). Also helping are improved fuel economy of new vehicles and lower insurance costs.
However, Daley points out that maintenance costs are up 11 percent from a year ago. “That’s really the biggest factor that went up this year compared to last year. We know that people are holding on to their vehicles longer. The average age of a car in America right now is between 11 and 12 years old, so we are seeing maintenance costs go up.”
Based on current prices, the owner of an average sedan in the state can expect to pay $9,198 in 2013 to drive, compared to $10,050 last year. The total costs include insurance, maintenance, gasoline, tires, taxes, registration, depreciation and finance charges, based on driving 15,000 miles a year.
Daley says there is a rise in costs to two important components associated with keeping vehicles longer. We have seen the costs in labor and parts, as well as the cost of extended warranties go up compared to last year.”
Daley says there has been a rise in the purchase of extended warranty packages as people have elected to keep their existing vehicles longer.
With tire manufactures Michelin, Bridgestone, and Continental expanding in the state, Daley says South Carolina motorists should enjoy less than national average tire prices. “Our maintenance and out tire numbers are based on the national numbers, but I would say that in South Carolina when you see so many tire manufacturers in the state, you can expect those costs to be lower than the national average because there is less costs from distribution and more competition.”
South Carolina, with daily production of 84,000 tires, today is second only to Oklahoma as the biggest tire producing state in the nation, according to the trade publication Tire Business.