Study shows vehicles with most expensive maintenance


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The costs of owning a car continue far past the date of purchase. Based on the latest study on driving costs by the American Automobile Association (AAA), owning a car costs an average of $9,666 per year. The actual expenses can vary based on several factors, such as the type of car, insurance, and maintenance. They all play a role in the cost of owning a car. By knowing and understanding these factors prior to purchasing a vehicle, you can better determine if owning a car fits your budget.


Owning a car can get expensive, and the numbers don’t lie.

  • Owning a car costs an average of $9,282 per year or $773.50 per month.
  • It costs an average of $205 to repair a 5-year-old car and $430 to repair a 10-year-old car.
  • The price of a new car is $30,000 on average.
  • The average total cost per mile rose from 0.59 cents in 2018 to 0.62 cents in 2019.

Average Annual Cost Per Vehicle Type

The average cost of car ownership per year starts with the type of vehicle you drive. The bigger the vehicle, the more expensive it will be to maintain and fill the gas tank.



Average vehicle cost

Average vehicle cost

Note: Costs are calculated based on 15,000 miles driven annually


*Source: American Automobile Association. Prices as of July 2022.

Breakdown of Costs


The cost of owning a car doesn’t end at auto loan payments and gas. There are a myriad of other expenses involved, such as insurance, license and registration fees, maintenance and more. Accounting for expected and unexpected expenses is vital to determining your car budget.


Breakdown of costs

How to Calculate Annual Cost of Car Ownership

While it can be tedious work to determine your overall ownership costs, calculating the cost of owning a car can help you manage your finances and keep personal debt to a minimum.


Take a look at how to calculate the different costs of car ownership.



The formula for how to calculate miles per gallon.

The formula for how to calculate cents per mile.

The cost of gas per mile can give you insight into how much you’re paying for gas. You can generate two outcomes: miles per gallon and cents per mile. This information can tell you how much to budget for gas when evaluating the cost of owning a car. To calculate how many miles possible per gallon, take the total number of miles you’ve driven and divide that by the total number of gallons for a full tank. To calculate the dollar amount, or cents per mile, simply divide the total cost of a full tank by the total number of miles driven.

Average gas cost

Using the table above as an example, assume you drove 867 miles and it takes 21 gallons to fill your tank. Following the miles per gallon formula, you can drive about 41.3 miles per gallon.

An example of how to calculate miles per gallon.

However, if you want to calculate the dollar amount per mile or the cents per mile, take the cost of a full tank and divide that by the total miles driven. In this example, assume that it costs $100.38 to fill your tank. If you drive 867 miles, the cost per mile is 11.58 cents.

An example of how to calculate cents per mile.

Operating Costs

Your operating costs, otherwise known as variable costs, are only incurred if you drive the vehicle. Typically, this includes your gas, maintenance and costs of repair (if applicable). To determine your fuel costs, calculate your vehicle’s cents per mile.


Operating costs are just one aspect of owning and driving a vehicle. There are additional costs associated with the responsibility of owning a car.

Ownership Costs

The cost of car ownership involves other fees and requirements to own and operate a car. This includes auto insurance, registration and license fees, taxes and any charges associated with your auto loan. Depreciation, which is the loss of your vehicle’s value every year, is another consideration. It can impact the resale value of your car if and when you decide to sell it.

Average ownership costs

Car Ownership Cost FAQs

The costs of car ownership can be confusing for first-time car buyers. Read the frequently asked questions below to get a better understanding.


What is the average cost of owning a car per month?


It costs an average of $9,282 per year or $773.5 per month to own a car. However, note that actual costs can vary based on the vehicle type, the number of miles driven, and more.


What are the recurring costs of car ownership?


The recurring costs of car ownership include repair and maintenance costs, title and registration fees, taxes, auto insurance, and gas.


How do you calculate the total cost of ownership for a car? 


To get the total cost of owning a car, calculate the cost of gas per mile, operating costs, and ownership costs. Operating costs typically include the cost of gas per mile and maintenance fees. Ownership costs include taxes, fees, insurance, financing, and depreciation.


How do you calculate the cost of gas per mile? 


To calculate the cost of gas per mile or cents per mile, simply divide the total cost of a full tank by the total miles driven. For instance, if it costs $150 to fill your tank and you’ve driven 1,000 miles, then your cents per mile is $0.15.


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Every Tesla car, compared


Tesla’s streamlined product portfolio makes it easier than most manufacturers to directly compare its vehicles.

There are far fewer complicated trim options and extra technology, performance and safety packages to wade through, and just four different types of vehicles to pick from. Even the color palette is limited to just a handful of options, keeping things simple when it comes to making your purchase.

In this article, we have lined up every car Tesla currently sells, ranging from the entry-level Model 3, right up to the new ‘Plaid’ version of Model S, which is available for pre-order ahead of deliveries beginning at the end of 2021.

We have decided to include the cash price before incentives for every vehicle, as the incentives available vary by location.

Many features are the same across the Tesla product range, including much of the interior with its heated, power-adjustable seats, giant touchscreen with apps and games and wireless phone charging.

Autopilot is also included with all new Teslas, enabling them to steer, accelerate and brake automatically on certain roads. This is an advanced driver assistance system, but it is not yet designed to function without the driver paying full attention.

An additional package called Full Self-Driving Capability costs $8,000. This includes a feature that lets the car follow the navigation system when on the highway, dealing with on and off ramps, interchanges, and the overtaking of slower vehicles. It also includes automated parallel and perpendicular parking, and the Summon feature where the car will drive itself to its owner (on private land only, like a parking lot). Tesla says automatic steering on city streets is “upcoming.”

Full Self-Driving Capability can be bought after the car is purchased, via a software update, but Tesla says prices “are likely to increase over time with new future releases.” It also says the current features, as of October 2020, “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

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The Model 3 is Tesla’s smallest car, and is intended to compete against the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 in the compact premium sedan segment (although the Model 3 is technically a hatchback).

All versions of Model 3 come with a central storage console, four USB-C ports and two smartphone wireless charging points. They also all come with a tinted glass roof, power folding, auto-dimming and heated side mirrors, Bluetooth and the ability to add a custom profile for each driver.

Only the white paint option is free with the Model 3, with paid-for options being black, silver, blue and red. These all cost $1,000, apart from red which is $2,000.

All versions of the Model 3 come with a black interior with wooden dashboard as standard. An option with white seats and door panels, and a silver dashboard, costs an additional $1,000. The Standard Range Plus and Long Range versions of Model 3 come with two wheel options, the free 18-inch Aero Wheels and the $1,500 19-inch Sport Wheels. The Performance version is only offered with the free 20-inch Uberturbine Wheels.




The entry-level Model 3 has a single electric motor powering the rear wheels. It has an estimated range of 263 miles (as it was recently updated and hasn’t yet received its EPA-tested range figure), a top speed of 140 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds.

This car has what Tesla calls a “partial premium interior”, which includes 12-way power adjustable heated front seats and free access to the Premium Connectivity pack for 30 days. This includes satellite maps and live traffic data, internet streaming for music and media, video streaming, a karaoke app and an internet browser. After the 30-day free trial this package costs $10 a month if the owner wants to keep using it.




The mid-range Model 3 is called the Long Range and it has two electric motors delivering all-wheel-drive. It has an estimated range of 263 miles (again, Tesla is waiting on the EPA figures), a top speed of 140 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds.

Inside, the Long Range gets Tesla’s premium interior, which is the same as mentioned above but includes a year’s free access to Premium Connectivity (which is $10 after that), plus LED fog lamps, heated rear seats (as well as front) and floor mats fitted as standard.

Color and wheel options (and prices) are the same as the Standard Range Plus.




The flagship of the Model 3 line is the Performance, which is also all-wheel-drive, has an EPA estimated range of 315 miles, a top speed of 162 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds.

The Model 3 Performance comes with only one choice of wheel, the new 20-inch Uberturbines, and paint options (and costs) are the same as mentioned above. The Performance car also gains uprated brakes, lowered suspension, a carbon fiber trunk spoiler, a set of aluminum alloy pedals and Track Mode, which is a traction and stability control setting designed for use on the racetrack.




The Model Y is Tesla’s newest car. It uses the same chassis as the Model 3 and features an almost identical interior, but it is taller and offers more space inside. The Model Y lineup is very similar to that of the Model 3, but there are just two versions to pick from.

Paint options are the same across both the Model 3 and Model Y lines, which means white is free, black, silver and blue cost $1,000, and red is $2,000.

Both versions of the Model Y have a black, five-seat interior layout as standard. Changing to a seven-seat option, with two seats fold-out seats in the trunk, costs $3,000. This option will be available from 2021. As with the Model 3, the Model Y’s black and white interior option costs an additional $1,000.




The entry-level Model Y is the Long Range, which is a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive car with an EPA estimated range of 326 miles, a top speed of 135 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds.

Wheel options for the Model Y Long Range are the free 19-inch Gemini Wheels and the 20-inch Induction Wheels, which costs $2,000.




The flagship Model Y Performance has an EPA-estimated range of 303 miles, a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. As with the Model 3, the Model Y Performance also gets the new Uberturbine Wheels as standard (up from 20 to 21 inches here), plus uprated brakes, lowered suspension and aluminum alloy pedals.




There are three versions of Model S, but while the flagship Plaid can be ordered now, Tesla doesn’t expect deliveries to begin until late 2021.

All versions of Model S come with white paint for free. Paid-for options of black, silver and blue cost $1,500, while red costs $2,500.




Recently given a small price cut, the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Long Range Plus Model S has an EPA estimated range of 402 miles, a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds.

Wheel options are the 19-inch Tempest Wheels as standard, or the 21-inch Sonic Carbon Twin Turbine Wheel as a $4,500 option.

The interior is black with ash wood detailing as standard and comes with heated seats for every passenger, plus a heated steering wheel, wiper blade defrosters and washer nozzle heaters. The Model S also has an HEPA air filtration system as standard and a year of free access to Premium Connectivity (which costs $10 a month afterwards).

Bluetooth, LED fog lamps, tinted glass roof, auto dimming, power folding and heated side mirrors, and wireless phone chargers also all come as standard.

Interior options include black and white with dark ash wood details for $1,500, and cream with oak wood decor, also for $1,500.




The Model S Performance has an EPA estimated range of 387 miles, a top speed of 163 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 2.3 seconds, thanks to Tesla’s ‘Ludicrous Mode’. The Performance also gets a carbon fiber trunk spoiler and an interior with carbon fiber detailing as standard.

Wheel options for the Performance are the standard-fit 19-inch Tempest Wheels, and the optional $4,500 21-inch Sonic Carbon Twin Turbine Wheel. The latter reduces range from 387 miles to an estimated 334 miles.

The black and white interior option (this time with carbon details) is $1,500, and the aforementioned cream and oak option is also offered (With no carbon) for $1,500.




Finally for the Model S, Tesla recently opened pre-orders for an even faster version, the Plaid, that’s due to arrive in late 2021. This car promises an EPA-estimated range of over 520 miles, a 200 mph top speed and a 0-60 mph time of under 2.0 seconds, making it the quickest production car currently on sale. Tesla also claims a quarter-mile sprint time of under nine seconds and a power output of over 1,100 horsepower from the new three-motor configuration.

Paint, wheel and interior options for the Plaid are the same as they are for the Model S Performance.




The Model X uses the same chassis and motors as the Model S, but is taller, has a larger interior with room for seven adults and includes the unique ‘falcon wing’ rear doors.

Paint options and colors are the same as the Model S, with only white being free. The Model X comes with a five-seat interior as standard, while adding a pair of extra seats in the trunk costs $3,500. Switching to a six-seat configuration, where the second row has a pair of individual seats, costs $6,500.

Both versions of Model X have 20-inch Silver Wheels as standard, while the 22-inch Onyx Black Wheels are a $5,500 option.




The entry-level Model X has an EPA estimated range of 371 miles, a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds.

As well as the seating options mentioned above, the Model X Long Range Plus comes with a black interior with ash wood details as standard. Switching this to black and white with dark ash wood details costs $1,500, as does the option of cream with oak wood.




Finally for the Model X, the Performance has an EPA estimated range of 341 miles, a top speed of 163 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 2.6 seconds. As with the Model S, the Performance package includes Ludicrous Mode.

Wheel options are the same as the Long Range Plus, but picking the optional Onyx Black Wheels sees the estimated range of the Performance fall from 341 miles to 300 miles.

As with the Model S Performance, the Model X Performance interior gains carbon fibre details on the black, and black and white configurations.




Finally, the Tesla Roadster (which was announced in 2017 and due in 2020 but has been delayed) is available to pre-order. This requires an initial fully-refundable $5,000 credit card payment, plus a $45,000 wire transfer payment no more than 10 days later.

The more exclusive Founders Series Roadster is limited to 1,000 units, costs from $250,000 and requires a $5,000 deposit, followed within 10 days by the remaining balance of $245,000.

Tesla hasn’t explained the differences between these two models of Roadster, but has previously said how the car will have a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds, a 0-100 mph time of 4.2 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 8.8 seconds. Tesla has also claimed a top speed of over 250 mph and a range of 620 miles.

The Roadster has a removable roof panel and is a 2+2, which means it is predominantly a two-seater, with an additional pair of smaller seats in the back.

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