CAA provides real picture of annual Driving Costs

Toy model car on columns of stacked coins
February 25, 2013

New tool quickly calculates yearly cost of ownership, which Canadians consistently underestimate.

OTTAWA – The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) today released a free online tool that will allow Canadians to calculate the real cost of owning and operating a vehicle easily and quickly.

Driving Costs responds to a clear need – four in five Canadians under-estimate the cost of owning and operating a vehicle. In fact, six in ten under-estimated the cost by $4,000 or more. As well, two-thirds of Canadians think their annual grocery bill is bigger than their car ownership costs, which is not true. Yearly ownership costs for an average compact car are about $9,500, while the average Canadian spends $5,400 on groceries a year (figure provided by Statistics Canada).

“A vehicle is the second-largest expense most people have, but a lot of us are not taking into account all the expenses associated with car ownership,” says Jeff Walker, CAA vice president, public affairs. “Driving Costs makes it possible for everyone to figure out the true costs of driving in as little as one minute, so they can keep them in mind when planning their household budget.”

A lot of the discrepancy between actual costs and Canadians’ best guesses comes from not including depreciation when thinking about the cost of vehicle ownership. Canadians ranked depreciation in the bottom three when asked to list vehicle expenses in order of cost. In fact, it is one of the largest costs of ownership.

Driving Costs provides yearly figures, by vehicle make, class, and province, for everything from gas to licence fees and depreciation. Users can input their own information, if they know it, to get an extremely accurate picture, or use representative figures supplied by CAA partner CarDATA Consultants Inc. to get a very good estimate of their annual driving costs. The calculator also displays the annual greenhouse gas emissions for the vehicle selected and compares them to the best-in-class for that class of vehicle.

“We believe Driving Costs will be of real practical benefit to people while also helping educate all of us about these costs,” Walker says.

You can access the calculator at

CAA’s research was conducted as part of an Ipsos Reid poll of 2,000 Canadians conducted between February 4th and 11th.

CAA is a federation of nine clubs providing more than 5.8 million Members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.

CarDATA designs vehicle reimbursement solutions for North American companies. CarDATA offers advice and programs that help companies reimburse their employees or clients with a fair amount based on today’s market.

For further information, please contact:

Kristine Simpson
Manager, Public Affairs
613-247-0117 x 2006
[email protected]