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The true cost of owning a vehicle

Two-thirds of Canadians don’t know the true cost of owning and operating a vehicle for a year, according to Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) poll results released in spring 2018.

To help Canadians understand the real cost of their vehicle, CAA has released a comprehensive driving costs calculator that displays annual operating and ownership costs of most vehicles available in Canada. The calculator includes electric vehicles in addition to internal combustion engine and hybrid cars.

A few things Canadians may not know about the cost of their vehicle:

  • Excluding depreciation, fuel tends to be the most costly annual expense for drivers, costing on average $1,500 for a compact vehicle.
  • Routine scheduled maintenance costs can range from $500 to $700 a year. That includes oil changes, replacing air filters and more. This doesn’t include replacing old tires or purchasing winter tires.
  • The average car emits 15,000 to 25,000 kg of greenhouse gas over five years. Drivers can adjust how they drive to help reduce the environmental impact of their vehicle, which also saves money on gas. To learn more visit
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Canadians ranked depreciation as the least expensive aspect of owning a vehicle. Depreciation is actually the most expensive cost associated with owning a vehicle, accounting for about half the ownership cost.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, use the CAA Driving Costs Calculator to add up the true costs of ownership of different makes and models. If you’re looking at a previously-owned vehicle, consider booking a pre-purchase inspection at a BCAA Auto Service Centre – we’ll do a 176-point mechanical and system performance inspection and provide a full report.

Visit for more details about the poll and to download the CAA Driving Costs Calculator.