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Keeping Track: Costs of car ownership

Comparison of selected models shows wide range

Luxury vehicles keep buyers digging into their wallets long after they're done with the dealer. That's one finding of an analysis of car-ownership costs by Runzheimer International, a Rochester, Wisc.-based management consulting firm.

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The firm did a "spot analysis" of 23 cars selected as a cross-section. Operating costs include fuel, oil, tires, and maintenance. Ownership costs include insurance, depreciation, financing, taxes, and license-and-registration fees. The figures below represent total costs for the cars called cheapest of the 23 to own.

Priciest to own? The Mercedes 500S is "in a league by itself," Runzheimer says, at $15,892.

Total Operating costs of selected 2001 vehicles

Car Cost

Saturn SL2 Sedan $ 7,591 Honda Accord DX 7,868 Dodge Neon Highline 8,274 Chevrolet Prizm 8,358 Toyota Camry CE 8,680 Ford Taurus SE 9,674

Source: Runzheimer International

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society