Cost of maintaining a car on the rise

May 26, 2008 9:25:26 AM PDT
Just as we're adjusting to the reality of paying $4 for a gallon of regular gas, we're getting word about the other increasing costs of operating a car.

The California state average for the price of gasoline is $4.11 a gallon. But a new survey is showing it's not just gas on the rise -- it's also parking, oil changes and overall car maintenance.

Collier's International, a real estate services company, released its annual survey that says the daily parking rate in big cities rose in 2007 for the fourth straight year, a trend the company expects to continue in 2008.

If you need an oil change, Jiffy Lube International blames gas prices for a 2 percent reduction in the car count so they're raising the prices. The say new vehicle technology means drivers can more precisely time the maintenance needs. Maintenance and repairs only account for less than 10 percent of a car's total expenses, but visiting the mechanic is also becoming more expensive.

In addition, the price of car rentals has also increased overall.

"Yes, there's a lot of stuff that's gotten more expensive. Most products that we have use energy as a major input so that's not surprising. I think it's sort of a reality we'll be forced to contend with for a while to come," says motorist Ben Mitchell.

Overall, AAA is reporting that the cost of maintaining a car is about $300 more this year than last year.

The ray of sunshine in all of this is that auto insurance rates remain steady. One analyst says it's because high gas prices are forcing people to drive less, therefore there are fewer accidents on the road.


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