WASHINGTON — Lower gasoline prices are having a big impact on car owners.
“We can expect the costs of owning and operating a vehicle to drop 2 percent this year, down to $8,698,” says John Townsend, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Many of the components of car ownership are up, he adds. Insurance rates, for one, while varying widely, are generally higher.The cost of vehicle maintenance, license, registration and taxes have risen as well.
But lower fuel costs are more than compensating, Townsend says.
Motorists are also finally getting around to replacing the car or truck they’ve been driven since the start of the great economic recession in 2008.
“People have held on to their car for years. In the Washington metro area, it’s more than 11 years,” says Townsend. But that’s changing.
“Experts predict that 2015 will be a banner year for auto sales, the best in a decade,” Townsend says.
AAA estimates that fuel costs are down 13.77 percent this year compared to last, and could save motorists an average of $268.50 in gasoline costs this year.