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Motoring costs explained

Breakdown of costs involved in running a car

Each year the AA calculates a guide to how much it's likely to cost the average motorist to run a private car in Ireland, based on buying the car new. Each year we take a range of popular models across the different tax bands and analyse their costings. Of course, individual circumstances vary. For instance, the fuel consumption depends on the type of car and local traffic conditions, while the cost of repairs needed can be unpredictable. However, the aim is to show a representative cost that reflects all the important items, so you can see how it all adds up. We include figures like the cost of depreciation and interest rates which people often overlook but which are part of the overall cost of motoring in Ireland.

What exactly are running costs?

TheAA.ie classifies the costs of motoring under two headings: 'Standing Charges' which you have to pay whether you use the car or not, and 'Running Costs' which are the actual costs of using the car.

Standing charges

These are the basic costs incurred just keeping the vehicle ready for use on the road. They include annual road tax, insurance, the cost of capital used for the vehicle, the loss of value of the vehicle (depreciation) plus AA Breakdown Cover. Depreciation, which is affected by mileage, is usually the biggest single cost factor, though it's easy to lose sight of it in terms of a day-to-day expense.

Running costs

The running costs are those that depend directly on using the vehicle – primarily fuel, but also including parking and tolls, tyres, servicing and repair costs. These are given as a cost per kilometre in cents based on an assumed annual mileage of 16,000 kms. On average, every kilometre run adds this amount to the annual bill and every kilometre saved cuts the cost by this amount.

Vehicle groups

Cars are categorised based on their annual car tax band, hence there are costs calculated for 7 categories of car. Cars in the bigger tax bands are usually larger cars. An average value across a range of new vehicles is calculated for each tax band.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.