Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I find the vehicle I am looking for?

The Driving Costs Calculator uses common vehicles you would find on Canadian roads. Vehicles older than 2015, low-volume vehicles, or utility vehicles, such as passenger vans, are not available. If the car you are looking for is brand new it may not be on the road yet, or has only recently been released for sale. Our data provider, Vencentric, requires a period of time to collect information on new vehicles — once they have hit the road — to accurately calculate these costs. If you believe a vehicle is incorrectly missing, or for additional information please contact

What is city vs. highway mileage?

Not all types of driving have the same impact on your car and fuel economy. City driving involves more stopping and starting, which burns more fuel, while highway driving involves your vehicle driving at a high continuous speed, which is actually easier on your car’s engine. The calculator defaults at 45% city and 55% highway driving, which is the average split for most Canadians. If your driving habits differ from this breakdown, you can adjust the slider on the results page.

What price is used to calculate fuel price?

The fuel cost is based on the average price for regular fuel in your province. These prices are provided by, and they are updated daily. If your vehicle takes a different type of fuel you can adjust the price on the results page.

What is depreciation?

Often overlooked, depreciation is the largest expense when it comes to operating and ownership costs. Depreciation is the reduction in value of a vehicle incurred during the period of ownership. The annual depreciation is estimated by looking at the difference between the current market price of a vehicle and the forecasted value of the vehicle, which is provided by Canadian Black Book.

What are maintenance costs?

Maintenance is the cost of keeping your vehicle in running order, including frequency, parts prices, and labour rates. The assumptions are based on:

  • the manufacturer recommended maintenance schedules
  • parts prices based on manufacturer pricing
  • a labour rate of $80 CDN per hour
  • unscheduled maintenance costs based on national prices (ex. tires and battery).

What are license and registration fees?

The cost for maintaining a driver’s license and registering the vehicle in your province.

What are the assumptions for the insurance costs?

Insurance varies by person. For the simplicity of the tool, we have made a few assumptions. The cost is calculated using multiple insurance industry sources for each vehicle. However, the tool allows you to input your own cost if it differs from the number we provide.

The amount is based on the following assumptions:

  • a driver under the age of 65
  • six years of driving experience with no accidents
  • living in a suburban/ urban location
  • passive restraint and anti-theft discounts
  • personal use
  • $500 deductible for both collision and comprehensive

Why do I have to include an odometer reading for used vehicles?

The number of kilometers on a vehicle helps determine how much it has been used and gives an indication of the kind of wear and tear it has experienced. Vehicles also need maintenance done when they hit a certain number of kilometers (for example belts or brakes replaced), so this can also give you an indication of when you should expect future expenses.

What are environmental costs?

Environmental costs are the amount of greenhouse gas emissions your car produces over five years. For internal combustion engine vehicles this number is based on the gas burned by the vehicle. For hybrid and electric vehicles the CO2 emissions produced by electricity is factored into the equation. Electricity rates are different in each province, and these numbers are supplied by the provincial government.

Assumptions for electric cars include:

  1. 55% highway and 45% city driving split.
  2. Battery is fully charged every day.
  3. Max range of battery is achieved before gasoline is used.

I need a larger vehicle but the fuel price is high, is there anything I can do to decrease fuel consumption?

Drivers can adjust how they drive to help reduce fuel consumption and their environmental impact. To learn more visit

I’m looking into an EV but I’m not sure where I can charge it other than my home. How can I find out about public EV charging stations?

CAA has one of the most comprehensive EV charging station maps in Canada. You can visit CAA’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locator here:

Does this cost include my car payments?

Yes. We assume the vehicle is being financed over 5 years with a 15% down payment. The annual cost also includes the interest cost associated with financing a vehicle.

I would like to purchase a more environmentally-friendly vehicle but I’m not sure what is available, where can I find a list?

CAA provides a list of the most fuel efficient vehicles, by category, here. If you are looking at purchasing an electric or hybrid, click here for a complete list of EVs and click here for a list of hybrids.

I’m a young driver looking to purchase my first vehicle, what should I consider?

Learning to drive and purchasing your first vehicle are both exciting milestones. CAA has online resources for young drivers that include general tips, safety information, and tips for purchasing your first vehicle. To learn more visit

Are EV incentives included in the annual cost of EVs?

Yes, EV incentives, a rebate given to consumers who purchase an eligible electric vehicle, are included in the annual cost. However, at this point in time only Québec, Ontario and British Columbia offer incentives to consumers who purchase eligible vehicles. To learn more about incentives in these provinces visit:

Why can depreciation rates for electric vehicles be greater than for gas powered vehicles?

There is a low demand for used EVs in the current market as they are seen as fairly new technology. EVs are well tested and reliable vehicles, however, they are still considered new to the car market, which makes some leery of investing in it. As market penetration for EVs increase the discrepancy in depreciation is predicted to even out.

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