Tips to reduce the increasing cost of U.S. vehicle ownership

This past April, AAA released new results from its annual study on the costs of owning and operating a vehicle in the United States. Entitled “Your Driving Costs,” the study found that there has been a nearly 2 percent rise in the average total cost of vehicle ownership since 2011.

“The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas,” John Nielsen, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, explained in the report’s official release.

In total, the study surmised that those who drive roughly 15,000 miles a year now pay an average of 60 cents per mile to operate their vehicle and keep it in good working order – if it’s a new model. Added up, this average equalled a total cost of roughly $9,000 a year, according to the organization’s findings.

One of the specific costs cited by the study was rising price of fuel, which was up nearly 15 percent from the year before, researchers said. However, while you can’t do much to cut your costs at the pump directly, you can take steps to ensure you’re getting the most out of your fuel by following some recommendations from car experts and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

1. Drive The Speed Limit

– While it may sound like common sense, the EPA says that for every 5 mph above the speed limit you’re paying an extra 31 cents per gallon of gas. That means if you take your Mustang V-6 engine to its top speed of 113 mph, you’ll be paying an extra $3.00 per gallon.

2. Avoiding Idling

– This may be a goal of yours already, even if you don’t spend a lot of your time in morning traffic. But, if you need more inspiration to avoid idling, the EPA says it can cost your car up to half a gallon of fuel an hour.

3. Remove Excess Weight

– There never seems to be a good time to remove those golf clubs from your car, especially when the garage is just as cluttered. But, those clubs could be costing you even more than what you paid for them, as the EPA suggests adding an extra 100 pounds to a vehicle can reduce its MPG by up to 2 percent.

How are you cutting your driving costs? Are you using any of the tips here? If so, share your experience below: