It costs more to drive a car in Motown than in any other city in the country.

Car Ownership Costs





Los Angeles












Topeka, KS


Grand Forks, ND


Sioux Falls, SD


Knoxville, TN


Detroit, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles are the most expensive places to own and operate a typical 2006 mid-size vehicle, with yearly costs exceeding $10,360, according to Runzheimer International, a firm specializing in employee mobility reimbursement.

Driving a typical mid-size car (represented by a 2006 Ford 500 SEL 4-door sedan) in the Detroit area costs $11,844 per year with Philadelphia next at $10,672, and Los Angeles in third place at $10,361.

Expenses include operating costs such as fuel, oil, tires, and maintenance and ownership costs, defined as insurance, depreciation, and license/registration fees.

In sharp contrast, driving this same vehicle in Knoxville, Sioux Falls, and Grand Forks costs the owner approximately $7,400, representing a difference of nearly $4,500 between the most and least expensive locations.

The three highest cost cities all share one common factor -- high auto insurance rates. Detroit rates for liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance are nearly $5,162 annually; Philadelphia rates are $4,142; and Los Angeles rates are $3,225.

Maintenance costs also vary. Assuming normal service, maintenance and tires for a vehicle driven 60,000 miles over four years range from a high of 7.35 cents-per-mile in San Francisco to a low of 4.69 cents-per-mile in Bismarck.