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The true cost of driving in Arizona

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The average cost to own and operate a vehicle is just over $8,500 per year. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The average cost to own and operate a vehicle is just over $8,500 per year. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

If you drive a car then you probably know how expensive it is just to maintain it. But how expensive?

"The average cost to own and operate a vehicle is just over $8,500," said Michelle Donati with AAA.

That's $8,500 a year. However as pricey as that may sound, consumers are getting a bit of a break this year.

"This is the second year that the overall cost of vehicle ownership is down," Donati said.

Sounds good but how much are you really saving? Well, not much.

This year, Donati says you'll only save about $140 compared to last year. 

"What’s interesting about this year is that the prices and cost are actually up across the board with the exception of one category and that one category is gas prices," Donati said.

Not surprisingly, lower gas prices have certainly helped a little when it comes to driving, but it's the other expenses that come with car ownership that are up.

For example, insuring your vehicle this year will cost you 10% more. Maintenance costs are up 3%. Registering your car is also up 3%. And your car will depreciate faster due to robust new car sales.

AAA of Arizona is basing their numbers on a study that looked at drivers who drove 15,000 miles a year.

"If you look at the increases in insurance and maintenance and depreciation, license and registration and all the categories that we evaluate those increases are all off-set by the 25% drop in gas prices compared to last year," Donati said.  

The study also accounted for the many different types of vehicles zipping along on Arizona roadways.

"You may be surprised that it cost less to own that minivan than it does to own that large sedan or SUV," Donati said.

Donati says it's important for motorists to keep up with their car too because if neglected, that $8,500 it costs to own and maintain a vehicle might be worse.

"Belts and hoses all those things that really dry and crack in our summer heat, it's real important to get those things checked because if you don't that can absolutely drive up your maintenance costs,." Donati said.

For more information about the AAA study, click on the following link

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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