True cost of vehicle ownership includes many factors

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A new study from AAA reveals that the cost to own and operate your car includes factors many drivers don't consider but there are ways to save.

Some of the cost of owning a vehicle are obvious; others are less so and you need to know about them. But with all the costs, there are ways to lower them and free up cash for other expenses.

When many people think of the cost of owning a vehicle, they think of their car payment, gas, and insurance. But AAA says the cost goes well beyond that.

"We know that everyone keeps a close eye on what they're spending and people want to save where they can, so a really good place to start could be with your car," Michelle Donati said.

A new study from AAA reveals the average cost to own and operate a new vehicle nationwide is about $8500. Michelle Donati from AAA says one factor drivers fail to consider is depreciation; which is very high on a new car.

"One thing people can do to easily help to offset some of the depreciation costs is to buy a used car," Donati said.

Let somebody else take the new-car depreciation hit and you get the much lower depreciation of a used car. Donati says you can also save by using your vehicle less. Just carpooling or ridesharing one day a week can lead to nice savings.

"Those things can help offset the fuel that you pay, the wear and tear on the vehicle and ultimately the maintenance you end up paying," Donati said.

You can also save on maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, just by staying on top of it.

"AAA has done previous studies where we found you can save an average of a hundred dollars if you simply follow your vehicle's maintenance schedule," Donati said.

AAA has put out this report for many years and typically compares results to the previous year. They say that's not possible this year because of a change in methodology so comparisons will start again next year.

One last insight from the study: If you really want to buy 'new' consider the number of occupants you normally carry. For example, if you don't use all the seats in a minivan, you can save on depreciation by going with a large/mid-size sedan instead.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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