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Cars Cost More to Operate But Keep Their Value

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans should appreciate the fact that their two-and-three-year-old cars are hardly depreciating in value.

Auto club AAA's annual report on the cost of owning and operating a vehicle finds that because the economy is still soft, people are reluctant to trade in older cars for newer models.

It should be no surprise that it costs more to own and operate cars, AAA says, up 1.9 percent from last year, with much of that due to rising gasoline prices.

For instance, if you drive an average of 15,000 miles annually, AAA figures you're paying 59.6 cents per mile or $8,946 based on depreciation, fuel, insurance, finance charges, maintenance and tires.

That's the downside of the study. The upside is that the demand for used cars is so high right now that if your vehicle was worth $15,000 in 2011, chances are it's nearly worth that much now.

Dealers normally have a good supply of two-to-three-year-old used cars on hand, but with owners less inclined to trade them in, these models are being sold at a premium.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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