Tips to help offset ownership costs
Calkins offers the following tips to help cut the sting of ownership costs:
- Buy a smaller car that meets the majority of your transportation needs, and rent something bigger when necessary.
- In a multi-car household, use the smallest vehicle practical for any given trip.
- If you drive your family around in an SUV, consider switching to a minivan when it’s time for a new car. With operating costs that fall between those of medium and large sedans, minivans provide far more cost effective family transport than do SUVs.
- Modify your driving habits, combine trips, don’t use a higher grade of fuel than is recommended for your vehicle, and consider carpooling to increase fuel efficiency and maximize people miles per gallon.
- Competitively shop your auto insurance when it comes up for renewal. If you have an auto loan with a high interest rate, consider refinancing.
- Don’t over maintain your vehicle – follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
Vehicles in the study
The AAA’s 2012 “Your Driving Costs” study analyzed detailed driving costs for the five top-selling small, medium and large 2011 model year sedans, as selected by AAA. The list includes:
- Small sedans – 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla
- Medium sedans – 2011 Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry
- Large sedans – 2011 Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon
SUVs, although not part of the study’s composite average, included: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner. Minivans included: 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna.
An in-depth look at the study is available from AAA in this PDF brochure.
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