First Person: Our Vehicle Costs Us $5,970 a Year

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According to, the AAA auto club released the results of a survey saying that average annual cost of owning a sedan is $9,122 per year. The article says that AAA auto club looked at the cost for maintenance, fuel, tires, insurance and depreciation.

After reading this article, I began to wonder exactly what our vehicle costs us each year. I looked at what we spend each year for maintenance, fuel, insurance, depreciation, and taxes/registration, which are the main expenses for our vehicle, and compared our spending to the numbers given by the AAA auto club.

Here are the total annual expenses we pay each year for our Dodge pickup truck, and how they compare to the numbers from the survey.


When we were still paying monthly payments on our auto loan, we were required to carry a full-coverage policy on our truck. However, now that we've paid our loan in full, we could drop the higher coverage if we chose to. We've decided to keep the full-coverage insurance, which costs us $425 every six months, or a total annual cost of $850.


Owning an older and larger vehicle means that we don't get the best gas mileage possible. On average our truck gets around 15 miles per gallon of gasoline, and we have to fill our take twice a month. Currently, we are budgeting $200 for fuel, which means our yearly fuel costs is around $2,400.


When we purchased our truck it had been previously owned by one other person. Luckily, the first owner took really good care of it, so it was in like-new condition with low mileage when we bought it. In the five years that we've owned it, we've kept up the maintenance on it, and haven't had any major problems with it. On average we pay around $500 a year for basic maintenance like oil changes, tire rotation, and tuneups.


Here in Kentucky we are required to pay an auto tax as well as a registration fee every year. The overall cost is based on the value of the vehicle, and for us that means we pay around $120 a year in taxes and fees.


When we purchased our truck it was valued at about $20,000, and in the five years we've owned it, it has depreciated in value to around $9,500. That means the total depreciation has been around $10,500, or about $2,100 a year.

All told, our truck costs us around $5,970 a year, which is $3,152 less than the average give by the AAA auto club.

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