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Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

Here are Some Facts About Portland Oregon          

“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown

AAA calculates the cost of auto ownership for three classes of cars and three annual milage based on their members typicl cars. In their words:

It incorporates standardized criteria designed to model the average AAA member's use of a vehicle for personal transportation over five years and 75,000 miles of ownership.

Here is a comparison of the AAA’s calculations (local copy) with actual USA average data (some estimated). The differences are probably because of the demographic differences between the AAA membership and the average American.

  • USA average data was not found for several items, so either the AAA data was used or estimates were used for the "USA Average 2005" column.
  • That AAA assumes an average car age of 2.5 years, while the real USA average car age is 9 years accounts for most of the difference in cost between the national average and the AAA average.


Small Sedan

Medium Sedan

Large Sedan

AAA Average

USA Average 2005

AAA’s analysis covers vehicles equipped with standard and optional equipment including automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering,antilock brakes and cruise control, to name a few.


Fuel costs were based on $2.405 per gallon, the late-2005 U.S. price from AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report: www.fuelgaugereport.com. Fuel mileage is based on Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy ratings weighted 60 percent city and 40 percent highway driving.

8.0 cents

30.06 mpg

9.8 cents

24.54 mpg

10.7 cents

22.48 mpg

9.5 cents

25.32 mpg

10.5 Cents

22.9 mpg

Maintenance Costs include retail parts and  labor for normal, routine maintenance as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. They also include the price of a comprehensive extended warranty with

one warranty claim deductible of $100 and other wear-and-tear items that can be expected to require service during five years of operating the vehicle. Sales tax is included on a national average basis.

4.5 cents

4.9 cents

5.4 cents

4.9 cents

? (use 4.9 cemts)

Tires Costs are based on the price of one set of replacement tires of the same quality, size and ratings as those that came with the vehicle.

Mounting, balancing and sales tax also are included.

0.5 cents

0.8 cents

0.7 cents

0.7 cents

? (use 0.7)

Operating costs - Cost per mile (what is costs once you have bought the car)

13.0 cents

15.5 cents

16.8 cents

15.1 cents

13.0 cents

Insurance AAA based its insurance costs on a full-coverage policy for a married 47-year-old male with a good driving record, living in a small city and commuting three to 10 miles daily to work. The policy includes $100,000/$300,000 coverage with a $500 deductible for collision and a $100 deductible for comprehensive coverage.







license, registration, taxes






Average age of vehicle is 2.5 years based on the statment " personal transportation over five years and 75,000 miles of ownership" (above) and "estimated trade-in value at the end of five years." (below)

2.5 years

2.5 years

2.5 years

2.5 years

9.0 years

Depreciation Depreciation is based on the difference between new-vehicle purchase price and estimated trade-in value at the end of five years.






Finance Costs are based on a five-year loan at 6 percent interest with a 10 percent down payment. The loan amount includes taxes and the first year’s license fees, both computed on a national average basis.






Ownership cost per year






Ownerahip cost per mile at 10,000 miles per yea (after AAA depreciation adjustment for milage)

37.5 cents

46.9 cents

56.1 cents

46.9 cents

Ownerahip cost per mile at 15,000 miles per year

28.7 cents

37.6 cents

45.1 cents

37.1 cents

17 cents

Ownerahip cost per mile at 20,000 miles per year (after AAA depreciation adjustment for milage)

24.6 cents

33.3 cents

39.7 cents

15.1 cents

Total cost per year,ownership & per mile, based on 10,000 miles/yr

50.5 cents

62.4 cents

72.9 cents

62.0 cents

Total cost per year,ownership & per mile, based on 15,000 miles/yr

41.7 cents

53.1 cents

61.9 cents

52.2 cents

30 cents

Total cost per year,ownership & per mile, based on 20,000 miles/yr

37.6 cents

48.8 cents

56.5 cents

47.7 cents

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How the AAA calculates driving cost compared to national average driving