The cost of owning and operating a new car this year is draining our wallets.

The average cost to own and operate a vehicle in 2022 is $10,728 or $894 per month, a considerable increase from 2021, when the average yearly cost was $9,666 or $805.50 per month, according to AAA’s “Your Driving Costs” study.

It should not come as a shock that fuel prices are the most significant factor pushing this year’s annual price tag, according to Robert Sinclair Jr., senior manager of public affairs at AAA Northeast.

New Jersey residents are paying slightly more than the national average. In the Garden State, the annual cost of vehicle ownership is $10,803, which is about $75 more than the national average. Jersey drivers have more expensive insurance, maintenance, and repair costs than the national average.

Sinclair said the study evaluated nine categories of vehicles, consisting of 45 models like small sedans, large sedans, compact SUVs, midsize pick-ups, hybrids, electric, and more, and compared them across six categories such as fuel, maintenance/repair/tire costs, insurance, license/registration/taxes, depreciation, and finance charges.

The study assumes a five-year ownership period with the vehicle being driven 15,000 miles/annually.

He said fuel costs were projected based on a weighted average of the first five months of 2022. During that time, fuel prices averaged $3.99 per gallon.

Another interesting aspect of this study found that electric vehicles have the second lowest annual ownership costs behind small sedans.

“But when it comes to the cost per mile for “fuel” or for an electric charge for an electric vehicle, the electric vehicle works out to 4 cents per mile of an operating cost where the average gasoline vehicle will spend an average of 18.4 cents per mile,” Sinclair said.

Assuming both types of cars drive 15,000 miles per year, it would cost approximately $2,700 per year to fuel the gas-powered vehicle and $600 per year to charge an electric vehicle. That is a more than $2,000 difference annually.

Besides fuel savings, electric vehicles also have the lowest maintenance, repair, and tire costs.

But Sinclair said what car buyers need to be on the lookout for when looking at electric vehicles, is the cost of an E-V.

“On average, electric vehicles are around $60,000 a year. The average gasoline vehicle is about $33,000. So, you really have to count the costs and take into consideration all these extra expenses when you’re buying a new vehicle,” Sinclair said.

A lot of electric vehicles are high-end models like Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. These can cost up to $80,000 each, he said.

Weight is also a concern when it comes to electric vehicles. Sinclair said a Ford pickup truck electric vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds. A Tesla sedan EV weighs about 5,000 pounds. That’s as much as a standard pickup truck.

“Because of that extra weight, you’re going to see extra strain placed on those tires, on suspension, on brakes, and on steering. If an electric vehicle gets into a crash, you have to worry about some sort of the electric componentry being exposed and causing harm to the passengers in the vehicle or the first responders coming to help them,” Sinclair said.

That is something that’s more long-term with electric vehicles that need to be looked at, he added.

The AAA study also took note that inventory for all vehicles is low. There are still supply chain problems that relate to getting parts to make the vehicles as well as the microchips, but also things like seats and various components used to construct the vehicles.

Sinclair said there have been stories about manufacturers not finishing the vehicles, and shipping them to dealers anyway with the promise that they’ll return and fix the vehicles at a later date.

AAA also launched an online Your Driving Costs calculator to provide a more interactive and personalized breakdown for car shoppers. Users can view comprehensive cost analyses of a specific vehicle by category to determine ownership costs that best fit their budget.

When purchasing a vehicle this year, Sinclair said to consider the cost of the car, the finance rate, and the trade-in value.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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