Computing the Total Cost of Car Ownership

Buying a car may seem like a straightforward process. You find a car you like, you look at the sticker price and arrange for an auto loan. For most people, that's where the thought process ends. Few people, however, calculate the true cost of car ownership. Crunching the numbers may give you a bit of shock when you consider how much it really costs to own a car.

Beyond Monthly Payments

The key to getting an accurate picture of what you will pay for car ownership lies in totaling up all of your annual expenses. In addition to your monthly car payment, you will pay:

  • - Insurance
  • - Fuel
  • - Maintenance
  • - Finance charge
  • - License and registration fees

According to AAA, the average monthly cost to maintain a vehicle is $760, or $9,150 a year. Over the course of five years, you would have paid more than $45,000 for your vehicle and related costs.

Geography Matters

Where you live will also have an impact on your transportation costs. People who live in cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have access to public transportation and often walk and take subways instead of driving. People who live in sparsely populated areas and suburbs will find that their driving costs are significantly higher than average.

Look at the Long Term Picture

When it comes to buying a car, look at the long-term costs of driving versus the sticker price. The difference in price between a compact and a full size sedan may be low, but the difference in total driving costs can add up quickly. Use online programs to estimate fuel costs, insurance costs and maintenance costs before you buy your next vehicle.

Consider a common scenario. A small sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, for example, may cost $8,000 a year to maintain while a mid-size may cost $10,000. While the $2,000 price difference may seem insignificant, this figure adds up to $12,000 over the course of a six year car loan.

Be a Smart Shopper

One of the best ways to save on auto related expenses is to shop around before buying your next car. Find deals on new cars and manufacturer's rebates when possible. Look for financing offers and deals on late model used cars. Know your credit score and how much you can afford to spend on a new car.

Being a savvy car buyer will help you spend less over the life of your car.

Short-term loans are emergency credit products of relatively small amounts designed for short-term financial issues only and can become an expensive product if used for long-term purposes.

The owner and operator of is not a lender and is not involved into making credit decisions associated with lending or making loan offers. Instead, the website is designedonly for amatching service, which enables the users contact with the lenders and third parties. The website does not charge any fees for its service, nor does it oblige any user to initiate contact with any of the lenders or third parties or accept any loan product or service offered by the lenders. All the data concerning short-term loan products and the industry is presented on the website for information purposes only. does not endorse any particular lender, nor does it represent or is responsible for the actions or inactions of the lenders. does not collect, store or has access to the information regarding the fees and charges associated with the contacting lenders and/or any loan products. Short-term loans are not available in all the states. Not all the lenders in the network can provide the loans up to $1,000. cannot guarantee that the user of the website will be approved by any lender or for any loan product, will be matched with a lender, or if matched, will receive a short-term loan offer on the terms requested in the online form. The lenders may need to perform credit check via one or more credit bureaus, including but not limited to major credit bureaus in order to determine credit reliability and the scopes of credit products to offer. The lenders in the network may need to perform additional verifications, including but not limited to social security number, driver license number, national ID or other identification documents. The terms and scopes of loan products vary from lender to lender and can depend on numerous factors, including but not limited to the state of residence and credit standing of the applicant, as well as the terms determined by each lender individually.

APR Representative
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is the loan rate calculated for the annual term. Since is not a lender and has no information regarding the terms and other details of short-term loan products offered by lenders individually, cannot provide the exact APR charged for any loan product offered by the lenders. The APRs greatly vary from lender to lender, state to state and depend on numerous factors, including but not limited to the credit standing of an applicant. Additional charges associated with the loan offer, including but not limited to origination fees, late payment, non-payment charges and penalties, as well as non-financial actions, such as late payment reporting and debt collection actions, may be applied by the lenders. These financial and non-financial actions have nothing to do with, and has no information regaining whatsoever actions may be taken by the lenders. All the financial and non-financial charges and actions are to be disclosed in any particular loan agreement in a clear and transparent manner. The APR is calculated as the annual charge and is not a financial charge for a short-term product.

Late Payment Implications
It is highly recommended to contact the lender if late payment is expected or considered possible. In this case, late payment fees and charges may be implied. Federal and state regulations are determined for the cases of late payment and may vary from case to case. All the details concerning the procedures and costs associated with late payment are disclosed in loan agreement and should be reviewed prior to signing any related document.

Non-payment Implications
Financial and non-financial penalties may be implied in cases of non-payment or missed payment. Fees and other financial charges for late payment are to be disclosed in loan agreement. Additional actions related to non-payment, such as renewals,may be implied upon given consent. The terms of renewal are to be disclosed in each loan agreement individually. Additional charges and fees associated with renewal may be applied.

Debt collection practices and other related procedures may be performed. All the actions related to these practices are adjusted to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulations and other applicable federal and state laws in order to protect consumers from unfair lending and negative borrowing experience. The majority of lenders do not refer to outside collection agencies and attempt to collect the debt via in-house means.

Non-payment and late payment may have negative impact on the borrowers’ credit standing and downgrade their credit scores, as the lenders may report delinquency to credit bureaus, including but not limited to Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. In this case the results of non-payment and late payment may be recorded and remain in credit reports for the determined amount of time.