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Owning and running a car up 18%, rental firm claims

The cost of owning and operating a car shot up a record 18 percent this year, to 44.6 cents per mile, according to a study by the Hertz Corporation. Hertz, a car rental firm, estimated that the average driver spends $4,437 a year to own and operate a car over four years.

For the record increase, up from 37.8 cents a mile last year, it cited higher car prices and towering interest rates.

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The American Automobile Association, in a survey gauging use of the family car, came up with a much lower estimate on car care alone. It pegged 1981 costs at 24.8 cents per mile, or no increase over 1980.