Mike Stevens | Jul 2, 2009

A SURVEY of 75 cars by Victorian insurer and automotive club RACV has revealed a silver lining to the economic downturn, with the cost of owning and running a car falling by an average seven percent in the past 12 months.

The RACV survey points to competitive purchase prices, lower service costs, loan interest, registration and tyres, along with day-to-day running costs and depreciation, as the main areas where car owners are benefiting.

The Hyundai Getz S stands as the cheapest car to own, with average running costs coming in at $114.65 a week - down from $122.83 in 2008.

Tipping the other end of the scale is the Toyota LandCruiser diesel, with weekly running costs averaging $366.05. While expensive, this figure is also down on 2008, when the average cost was $401.53 a week.

RACV’s Chief Engineer, Michael Case, said the economic downturn provided an opportunity for consumers to make the most of the hard times.

“We have taken the recommended retail pricing for this survey, however in the current economic climate it is clear there will be plenty of opportunities to grab a bargain," Mr Case said.

"Any discount would have a positive effect on the cost of depreciation when the time comes to sell.”

ford-falcon_01

The LPG Falcon range proved to be the cheapest to run in the 2WD ute and large car segments, helped by the government's $2000 LPG rebate.

The LPG Ford Falcon XT was found to have an average weekly running cost of just $212.87, while the regular Falcon XT cost owners $231.31 each week.

The dual-fuel Holden Commodore came in at $216.13 per week, with the regular petrol Commodore costing $10 more per week at $226.29.

The Toyota Aurion was found to compete well in running costs with the Commodore and Falcon, with an average weekly cost of $216.39.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, BMW cars proved to be the most expensive to own, with the 320i costing owners an average of $9385.12 over five years, compared to $3056.63 for owners of the petrol Commodore.

“It’s significant to note that the diesel Hyundai i30 was found to be $5.71 more expensive per week to run than its petrol equivalent. This is compared with last year when the diesel was 53 cents cheaper. In the six months leading up to this study, petrol was 8.5 cents cheaper than diesel,” Mr Case said.

“With this year's lower lending rates the Toyota Corolla interest payments had dropped $10 a week over last year’s survey, this was combined with its fuel costs dropping by 1.49 cents per kilometre,” Mr Case said.

“In most cases, the survey found that last year’s winners including the Hyundai Getz, Hyundai i30 (petrol rather than diesel), Holden Epica, Kia Carnival, Patrol Diesel and LPG Falcon Ute all retained their standing.”

Calculations for the RACV Vehicle Operating Costs Survey are based on a five-year ownership period, and average operating costs for private motorists, including an average driving distance per year of 15,000km.

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