The American Automobile Association, which calls itself just AAA these days, has released its annual “total cost of ownership” study for various types of vehicles, tallying up not just the purchase price but also maintenance and repair, depreciation and fuel. Basically, it finds that the bigger the vehicle, the higher the cost, with pickups costing $10,054 a year, a good 60 percent more expensive than small sedans at $6,354.
AAA has done this annual tally for a while, but this is the first year they’ve added electric vehicles. They came in the middle, between mid-sized and full-sized sedans, at $8,439 – almost exactly the average for all nine categories. Depreciation was the killer, which may not be surprising for such a brand-new type of car that gets quickly eclipsed by new technology:
New to the Your Driving Costs study in 2017, AAA found that electric vehicles have lower-than-average driving costs at $8,439 per year. Without a gasoline engine to maintain, electric vehicles have the lowest annual maintenance and repair costs, at $982 per year. By relying on electricity instead of gasoline, fuel costs are also significantly lower than average, at under four cents per mile. Depreciation, however, is currently extremely high for these vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000 in value every year.
An electric-car-owning friend of mine responded thusly on Twitter: “That’s why most EV drivers lease. My lease will cost me $10k over the life of the lease but the car will depreciate by $25k.”
One real surprise in the AAA study is that it said that hybrids had a higher operating cost than “small SUVs”. I guess the complexity of repairs to vehicles with two types of engines overwhelms the fuel savings in this cheap-gas era.
You can see the whole thing here.