AAA: Driving Costs & Teen Drivers

AAA offers an interactive Web site for teen drivers and also announces the 2010 edition of Your Driving Costs.

straight talk for TEEN DRIVERS A new interactive AAA Web site offers tailored, state-specific information to help both parents and their tee drivers understand how Idaho’s driver licensing procedure works. has assembled a comprehensive array of tools and resources to help you and your child address safety issues during the staged licensing process.

“Parental involvement is critical in developing safe and prepared drivers,” says Dave Carlson, director of public and government affairs at AAA Idaho. “AAA recognizes that helping teens learn to drive can be intimidating, particularly for today’s busy families. This site makes the task easier.”

The site features AAA StartSmart, a series of online newsletters and webisodes based on the National Institutes of Health’s Checkpoints program, which has been proven to help parents improve driver safety. The series’ 18 newsletters and webisodes cover important topics such as:

  • nighttime driving

  • distracted driving

  • alcohol and other drugs

  • parent-teen driver agreements

Parents will also find information about Idaho’s graduated driver licensing system, selecting a driving school, and choosing the right vehicle for their teens. At, you can learn what to expect from the time a new driver applies for a permit all the way through Idaho’s supervised instruction permit process.

ASSESSING DRIVING COSTS The 2010 edition of Your Driving Costs, an annual AAA study, reveals that the average cost to own and operate its “composite” new sedan is 56.58 cents per mile, or $8,487 per year, based on 15,000 miles of annual driving. The composite is an average of the costs for small, medium, and large sedans.

Using a model that captures ownership and operating costs for several broad 2010 vehicle classifications, the brochure breaks out costs for depreciation, insurance, taxes, and operation—including gasoline—by vehicle.

Depreciation is an especially hefty part of ownership costs, particularly for new vehicles. Depreciation of large sedans averages $4,828 a year, compared to $2,385 for small sedans.

Total ownership and operating costs for a small sedan come to $6,496 (43.3 cents a mile) based on 15,000 total miles per year. A large sedan’s total costs for the same mileage are $10,530, or 70.2 cents a mile.

This is the 60th year AAA has calculated and made available its summary of driving costs. Pick up a free copy of Your Driving Costs at any AAA Idaho service center.

This article was first published in September 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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