(RNN) - The price of gasoline may have dropped recently, but it's still boosting the average cost to own a sedan. According to a recent study, the cost has risen 3 percent - or about $9,000 per year.
The 62nd annual Your Driving Costs report from AAA used the average cost of gas from October to December 2011 to estimate the cost of owning a sedan. During that period, the national average was $3.35 for a gallon of regular gas. As of April 27, the price had gone up to $3.82, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
The automotive group uses older gas prices to keep from overstating the rise in costs.
"Some driving costs fluctuate at different times during the year, such as what we have experienced with fuel prices since the middle of February," said John Nielsen, AAA director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. "AAA's use of a consistent methodology for its study allows an accurate comparison of driving costs from year-to-year, and the figures can reliably be used to compare different categories of vehicles."
According to the report, the cost of gas from 2011 to 2012 rose nearly 17 percent, from $2.88 for a regular gallon of gas during their last reporting period. The price was slightly offset by better fuel economy on the study vehicles.
"The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas," Nielson said.
The price of tires, maintenance and insurance all rose along with fuel prices, but cars saw a drop in depreciation, which AAA said may be due to the lower number of new car sales over the past few years.
Despite the higher gas prices, the cost of fuel has gone down over the last few days. The week of April 16 marked the ninth in a row that saw prices fall, albeit only by 1 cent.
"It doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the peak price for 2012," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman. " It's still very early in the year and we could see gas prices inch back up in May or June depending on how the May 23 meeting between Iran and members of the United Nations turns out and whether or not we have a busy hurricane season."
The Your Driving Costs report has been released annually by AAA since 1950, when it cost approximately 9 cents per mile to drive a car 10,000 miles per year. Gas only cost 27 cents per gallon.
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