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How do I calculate a car's cost per mile or kilometer?
This calculation can help you choose among cars you're considering buying. It can also be a real eye-opener to realize how much it really costs to own a car. Start by writing down all the costs associated with the car over the time you have (or will) own it. Car costs include all the following:

  • Depreciation: cost of buying the car minus cost of selling the car

  • Auto loan interest, if any

  • Yearly insurance, taxes, and license fees

  • Extended warranty costs, if any

  • Maintenance and repairs: estimate maintenance costs using the maintenance schedule printed in the owner's manual and call your mechanic or dealership's service department for cost estimates

  • Cost of gas: divide total number of miles (kilometers) you plan to drive the car by the average miles per gallon (kilometers per liter); multiply this number by the price per gallon (liter) of gas

  • Tolls and parking for the life of the car

  • Cleaning products and accessories

Add these all up, and you'll have a rough but workable estimate of the total cost of owning the car over its life.

For the cost per mile or kilometer, divide this figure by the distance you expect to drive the car. You can calculate the total miles or kilometers by multiplying your estimated miles or kilometers per year by the number of years you think you'll own the car.

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