AAA: Cost of operating a car in SC down

05/01/2013 12:00 AM

04/30/2013 7:38 PM

South Carolina drivers will pay less to operate their vehicles this year than in the last four years, according to AAA Carolinas.

The motor club says that improving fuel economy, falling gasoline prices and lower insurance costs are combining to drive down the cost of driving.

AAA says that the owner of an average sedan in South Carolina can expect to pay $9,198 to operate such a vehicle this year, based on current prices. That compares with $10,050 last year.

Costs include insurance, maintenance, fuel, tires, taxes, registration, depreciation and finance charges, and are based on driving 15,000 miles per year, according to AAA.

The most significant change this year is the cost of gas. A gallon of unleaded regular is currently $3.224 in the state, compared with $3.587 the same day last year. If gasoline prices remain steady — and the long-term outlook is that they will — then drivers can expect to pay an average of 61 cents per mile to operate their vehicle this year. That’s six cents less than a year ago.

Other costs are relatively flat this year, including the average price of a new sedan — $25,062, about $5 less than in 2012. Tire costs, likewise, are flat, while maintenance costs are running about 11 percent higher, according to AAA.

“The decrease in vehicle costs is great news for South Carolina drivers,” said David Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.

“Driving costs had been rising steadily since 2009, and now motorists are finally seeing some relief.”

Drivers of minivans and SUVs will also see lower operating costs this year, according to AAA.

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