Gas prices up, driving costs soar

It make take a lot of cash to fill the tank, but it can run more than $11,000 a year to run your vehicle.

If you TMre gearing up for summer vacation, hopefully you TMve set aside a nice chunk of cash for the trip, because it TMs going to run you some money. Even if you TMre cutting corners, there TMs not much you can do when it comes to gas prices. If you leave for vacation today, you TMre looking at a national average price of $3.83 per gallon of the cheapest stuff, according to AAA . That TMs a full dollar more than it cost this time last year. When we TMre in the thick of the summer travel season, experts predict $4 gas .

As if it weren TMt expensive enough to fill up the tank, it TMs crazy how much it costs to drive. With costs going up across the board, AAA estimates motorists will pay $8,776 to operate their cars this year. Yikes! If you drive a 4-wheel drive SUV, you TMre looking at $11,239. Eleven thousand dollars. Per year. Ouch! The mini-van that carries my family of six will cost about $9,500 this year. Sigh.

AAA factors in fixed costs like insurance and depreciation when it comes up with annual driving costs. There are also variable factors like gas and maintenance. On average, the cost per mile based on 15,000 miles per year: 58 1/2 cents.

What is the price of gas/cost of car ownership doing to your bottom line? Has it changed your driving habits? Comments are always appreciated. Happy trails!

Take care ~Sarah