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The 4 Costs of Owning a Car That You Should Know About

two hands exchanging keys
  • Owning a car in the U.S. is both a great convenience and a responsibility, but it can be expensive due to various costs.
  • Investing in proper maintenance can help avoid major repairs and save money in the long run.
  • Consider buying a used car, which can save you on the initial purchase and taxes.
  • There are also various tax incentives and other benefits available for those who purchase electric vehicles (EVs).
  • Finally, regularly check your tire pressure and fix any glass cracks to ensure your car runs safely and efficiently.

Car ownership is one of the greatest parts of the American dream. People who own one often feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with it. Not only does owning a car give you freedom and independence, but cars can also improve your quality of life. So it’s no wonder that the country has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. However, it’s important to remember that owning a car can be costly.

Costs of Having a Car

Having a car in the U.S. is a great convenience and responsibility. It provides the freedom to go where you want when you want, but it also means that you are responsible for ensuring your car is safe, legal, and adequately maintained. There are a few key things to remember when owning a vehicle in the United States.

Signs of depreciation


Depreciation is the reduction in the value of an asset over time due to wear and tear. For example, when you purchase a vehicle, its value immediately depreciates by 10-20% in the first year. As you continue to use it, its value will drop until it reaches zero or close to zero. If you sell your car after five years, you might not get back what you paid for it initially.

Maintenance & Repairs

Your car needs regular maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, etc.) to stay in good condition and perform efficiently. While these service appointments aren’t too expensive individually, they can add up over time and become costly. Additionally, unexpected repairs that will arise from time to time—such as replacing brake pads or fixing an air conditioning unit—can cost hundreds of dollars each time.

Gas & Insurance

The cost of gas depends on the type of vehicle you have and how often you drive it, but suffice it to say that if you’re regularly driving, then this is an expense that needs to be factored into your budget every month. Similarly, insurance costs vary based on the coverage level but are usually around $100-$200 per month, depending on where you live and what type of car you have.

Registration & Inspection Fees

Registering fees will vary depending on where you live, but they are usually around $50-$190 annually per vehicle—and sometimes more depending on your state’s laws. For example, in California, it can cost as much as $100. In addition, some states require annual emissions tests or other types of inspections, which may also come with fees ranging from $25-$50 each year for each vehicle inspected.

Tips to Avoid These Costs

Thankfully, there are various ways to reduce car ownership costs. Here are some tips that could help you save money:

Charging port EV

Buy an EV

One of the most cost-effective ways to reduce car ownership costs is to purchase an electric vehicle (EV). EVs have lower maintenance costs and require less fuel than traditional vehicles, saving you money in the long run.

Plus, many states offer tax incentives and other benefits for those who purchase or lease EVs, so check with your local government to save more money.


If you plan to keep your car for many years, you should invest in properly maintaining it. Regularly servicing your vehicle and addressing any issues quickly can help to avoid major repairs down the road. Here are some essential things you need to do when maintaining your vehicle:

  • Fix Glass Cracks: The cracks on your windows and windshield can be dangerous and make your car look unappealing. It’s essential to fix these cracks before they become more extensive and costly. A reliable auto-glass replacement service can do this for you as well. They can also give you tips on how to prevent future cracks.
  • Change Oil Regularly: Regular oil changes ensure your car runs smoothly and efficiently. It’s recommended that you get an oil change every 3,000 miles or so, but depending on the type of vehicle and driving conditions, this may need to be done more often.
  • Check Tire Pressure: Tire pressure is essential for keeping your car safe and fuel-efficient. Keeping the right amount of air in your tires can save you up to 10% on gas, so regularly checking the pressure and topping off as needed is essential.

Purchase a Secondhand

If you don’t want to cover the costs of a new car, buying a used one is a great option. Not only will you save money on the initial purchase, but you’ll also save on taxes and registration fees. Plus, when it comes time to sell, you won’t need to worry about losing much of your investment due to depreciation.

Owning a car in the U.S. comes with its own set of costs, but there are plenty of ways to save money and make the most out of your investment. Consider following the tips since all of them will help reduce the cost of ownership over time and keep you safe on the road.

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