Amid historic inflation, it’s no surprise that new car buyers are paying more for all things automotive, including fuel, maintenance and insurance.

Skyler McKinley with AAA found that the average annual cost to own and operate a new vehicle in 2022 is up more than 10% over last year.

In Colorado, the average yearly cost to own and operate a new vehicle in 2022 is $11,451, 7% higher than the national average.

Not surprising, gas prices is fueling the high price tag. High gas prices aren’t just changing driving habits – they’re also changing the way Americans think about cars,” said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. “In fact, AAA research shows that one of the main reasons more folks want to go electric is to save money on gas.”

New this year, AAA launched an online Your Driving Costs Calculator . This tool enables consumers to determine the overall driving costs of a specific vehicle. When visiting the site, consumers can select their desired state, annual mileage and driving ratio that represents their normal driving habits, and vehicle year/make/model/trim.

This online tool employs the same methodology as AAA’s annual analysis of new car ownership. Data is available for new and used vehicles (five model years back), and consumers may customize the results based on location, fuel price, and other personal driving tendencies.

AAA recommends car buyers follow these steps before purchasing: 

• Start early! Due to limited inventory, consumers may have fewer choices regarding a specific vehicle model. They may have to wait for delivery or even pre-order the vehicle of their choice.

·• Obtain pre-approval from their financial institution (e.g., Bank, Credit Union, AAA, etc.) before discussing finance rates with the car dealer. By getting pre-approval, they will have a threshold of the best lending rate they’ll pay. Buyers can use their pre-approval to negotiate if the dealer offers a higher rate.

• Create a budget and factor in the different elements of ownership before purchase – not just monthly payments. Other factors to consider when making the budget include insurance, gas, routine maintenance, etc.

• Call your insurance agent to compare potential rates across your top choices and your current vehicle.

• Typically, three negotiations occur when purchasing a vehicle – the cost of the car, the finance rate, and the trade-in value. Keep each transaction/negotiation separate from the other.

Other resources consumers can use while car shopping:

• AAA Car Guide – easy-to-understand resource that can help improve consumers’ decision-making when it comes to car buying.

• AAA’s Car Buying Program – helps consumers shop for new or used vehicles and compare vehicle pricing online.