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Car Ownership is More Expensive Than Ever

  • New and used vehicle prices have risen by 22% and 40% respectively due to pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions.
  • Insurance, maintenance, and repair costs have also surged, along with increased prices for parts, parking, and tolls.
  • Gas prices have nearly tripled since 2020, and auto loan financing costs have increased, contributing to the higher overall cost of car ownership.

Thinking of buying a vehicle soon? Rising car ownership costs might cause you to think again.

Owning a truck or car has become far more expensive than in the past, even as recently as three years ago.

In the following graphic, Visual Capitalist's Marcus Lu and Pallavi Rao show, using data from the New York Times, how inflation has impacted various aspects of vehicle ownership, based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).1

Used Car Prices Are Still Elevated in 2023

Unsurprisingly, the biggest increases are logged in the price of new and used vehicles, up 22% and 40% respectively.

Pandemic supply chain disruptions led to bottlenecks on vehicle deliveries, dramatically pushing up used vehicle prices in turn.

However, car ownership costs only continue to increase after the vehicle is acquired. Insurance costs are now nearly 30% higher compared to 2020, along with maintenance and repair. If a part has to be replaced, that’s another 20% price increase. Even parking and tolls are up 12%.

And of course, for most vehicle owners we also have to consider the price of gas, which has grown nearly three-fold since 2020.

Finally, financing costs, which have risen steeply in conjunction with rapid rate hikes over the last year, are weighing on America’s trillion dollar credit bill. Auto loans are the second-highest monthly payment for U.S. households after mortgages.

Put together, the AAA estimates the annual cost of owning a new car in 2023 has reached $12,182, up 14% from last year.

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