The total cost of owning and operating a car includes fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, licensing, registration and taxes, depreciation, and financing. To find out precisely how much car you can safely afford for a car, check out our Car Affordability Calculator. You'll learn about the 35% rule, when it makes sense to rent instead of buying used things and if you should pay in cash or with financing. So, unless you have access to a free Level 2 charger in your parking lot, the cost of fuel and charging are about the same today.
I put “cost” in quotation marks because depreciation isn't a monthly expense that you have to pay out of pocket. In reality, it only appears when you are going to sell the car in 1, 3 or 10 years. Obviously, being able to afford car payments is an important first step, but keeping up with the other factors related to car ownership can go a long way in keeping your vehicle running well for as long as possible. Trying to save when it comes to the cost of owning your car can expose you to risks that will only lead you to assume more significant costs.
Having a car that you regularly use for road trips will generate a higher cost of ownership than having a car that you only use for occasional errands, for example. Your car will likely follow a fixed maintenance program for the first three years or 36,000 miles when you buy a new one. However, with rising car prices, higher interest rates, and rising gas prices, it can be difficult to know exactly how much your car is costing you. Monthly car payments and insurance premiums are self-explanatory, but here's more information on how to estimate other costs of owning a car.
So what are the seven real total costs of car ownership? How much should you budget for each one? And if they take the car you want out of the budget, what are my best tips for saving up to 40%? A variety of factors, such as your driving record and your age, can influence the cost of your car insurance.