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Charted: Car Ownership Costs in America Skyrocket (2020–2023)



A chart showing rising car ownership costs in America, using the CPI data.

Car Ownership Costs in America Skyrocket (2020–2023)

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.

We visualize data from the New York Times showing how inflation has impacted various aspects of vehicle ownership, based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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.

Car Ownership Costs% Change in CPI
Used Vehicles+40%
Maintenance & Repair+30%
Parts and Equipment+22%
New Vehicles+22%
Parking fees and Tolls+12%

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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