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It's not just gas. Cost of owning a car is on the rise

April 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you're at the gas station, it's obvious what it costs to put fuel in your vehicle.

Unfortunately, the price at the pump is only one of the costs of driving that has been going up lately.

According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, getting from point A to point B is on average costing drivers 3.4 percent more than last year.

It gets worse depending on the size of the vehicle.

Based on 15,000 miles per year for those driving a small sedan, the cost can be 45 cents per mile. With a medium-sized sedan, the cost goes up to more than 57 cents per mile. A large sedan is a whopping 73 cents per mile.

So what else is up? For one, tires are. Due to the rise in cost of raw materials, tires are up more than 15 percent this year.

So is depreciation, which is the loss of your car's value as soon as you drive it off the dealer's lot. It's up 4.9 percent.

But AAA believes consumers can shave this cost by buying used or shopping smart.

The true cost of driving is also affected by how well a vehicle runs. Performing regular maintenance on vehicles can help save an owner money by preventing expensive repairs down the road.

"A lot of people might be inclined to save a little bit here and there and maybe not change the oil or rotate the tires, but just taking care of your car can make it last longer," said John Nielsen, the AAA national director of auto repair.

If a car is running well, chances are it will get better gas mileage.

Another tip to save money is to avoid getting traffic citations or getting into accidents in order to be considered a good driver. The cost of insurance will likely drop that way.