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What is the total cost of ownership for a car ownership


What is the total cost of ownership for a car (Image)
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Purchasing a car extends beyond the initial price at the car showroom. The actual costs begin accruing when you hit the road after the purchase. Many aspiring car buyers must fully grasp the comprehensive expenses of car ownership. To make a well-informed purchasing decision, it is imperative to comprehend the multiple elements that factor into the total cost of possessing a car.

Analyzing Car Ownership Expenses

The costs tied to owning a car encompass both constant and variable expenses. Fixed costs, such as insurance and vehicle registration, remain relatively unchanged. On the other hand, variable costs may increase or decrease based on vehicle usage.

Financing or Lease Payments

The monthly vehicle payment is a recurring financial commitment that comes with starting to buy a new car. This varies based on several details: whether you’re leasing or financing the purchase, the vehicle’s sale price, the loan’s duration, the initial payment, and the interest rate you’ve secured. Monthly installments for a new car hover around $450, but choosing a pre-owned vehicle could adjust this figure closer to $520.

Monthly Financing/Lease Payment: $450-$520



The value of a car diminishes over time, known as depreciation; it constitutes one of the heftiest ownership expenses. The value of new cars decreases fastest; it drops by 15-20% in the first year and by roughly 15% annually over the next four. On average, a vehicle depreciates by roughly $258 monthly.

Depreciation: $258/month

Fuel Costs

Your spending on fuel significantly affects the overall cost of owning a car. Your vehicle type, driving habits, and fluctuating gas prices influence fuel expenditure. You might allocate $150-$200 monthly to fuel a standard new car. However, charging expenses for an electric car could be notably less.

Fuel Costs: $150-$200/month



Nearly every state mandates car insurance. The insurance premium depends on coverage choice, vehicle model, driver age, driving history, and geographic location. While premiums vary, an average monthly cost is around $111.

Insurance: $111/month

Maintenance and Repairs

Ongoing maintenance and unexpected repairs are integral to car costs. The average new car necessitates around $81 a month for maintenance and tire expenses, but an aging vehicle may cause this figure to surge.

Maintenance and Repairs: $81/month


Registration, Taxes, and Fees

The total cost of taxes, licenses, and registration may mount up. In 2023, AAA estimates these charges will average $762 annually for a car owner, although state and vehicle type can sway this cost considerably.

Registration, Taxes, and Fees: $10/month


Parking charges can significantly add to urban workers’ costs, with an average monthly expenditure of roughly $200.

Parking: $200/month

Computing Total Car Ownership Costs

By tallying all these financial obligations, we can deduce an approximate monthly cost for car ownership:

Total Cost of Ownership: $1077/month

This figure is merely an average, and individual expenses may vary based on your car type, residential area, driving frequency, and other factors.

Strategies to Lower Car Ownership Costs

There are various methods to cut down on the expenses of owning a car:

  • Opt for a pre-owned vehicle: This can considerably diminish your monthly payments and the car’s depreciation rate.
  • Refinance your auto loan: If a more favorable interest rate is obtainable, it could reduce your monthly car payments.
  • Select a fuel-efficient car: This choice can help reduce fuel costs over time.
  • Examine insurance offers from several providers to find more reasonably priced coverage.
  • Maintain your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance to avoid future costly mechanical problems.


Recognizing the full financial implications of vehicle ownership is essential for making an informed purchase. Consider not only the purchase price but also the continuing costs for maintaining and operating the vehicle. With this knowledge, you’ll be prepared to select an automobile that aligns with your financial scope and your day-to-day needs.

Author Bio

Mohamed Konate

Mohamed Konate is a personal finance expert, blogger, and marketing consultant based out of Toronto. He is a former financial services professional who worked for many years at major Canadian financial institutions where he managed the marketing strategy around various financial products ranging from credit cards to lines of credit. Mohamed is passionate about personal finance and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Quebec (Montreal) and a Master in International Business from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec).He is also the author of the Canadian Credit Card Guidebook.