A survey has revealed the average costs of running a car – and has also highlighted the most expensive and cheapest cars to own.

RACV’s 2015 Driving Your Dollars survey helps consumers save money in every aspect of vehicle ownership from buying a car to fuel efficiency and servicing.

This year, the annual survey examined 111 popular vehicles across 13 categories; taking into account all the expenses associated with normal car ownership including purchase price, interest, fuel, new tyres, insurance and depreciation.

Buyers can compare vehicles not only within one class but across all classes to help them decide which one is right for their budget.

The survey found the overall average cost of owning a car represents a deduction of $211.25 from the weekly household budget or 73.2 cents per kilometre – slightly down on the previous year’s result.

As was the case in 2014, the small car class emerged as the most competitive. This competition is also seen in the market place with small cars making up more than a fifth of total vehicle sales.

This year the leader of the micro car category – that is the cheapest new car to buy, own and operate – is the Suzuki Celerio 5dr, with a drive away price of $12,990 and low weekly running costs of $97.65.

For the third year in a row the most expensive vehicle to own and operate is the Nissan Patrol ST-L. With an estimated on-road price of $89,495, it will cost you $443.60 a week to keep it on the road.

RACV’s Manager Vehicle Engineering, Michael Case, said while fuel prices are a major talking point for consumers the good news is that average fuel consumption across all vehicles surveyed has fallen slightly.

“Interest rates are at a record low and although fuel prices have increased in recent months, they are still low compared to last year, making it more affordable to buy and operate a vehicle.

“Drivers can also make considerable savings at the petrol pump if they shop around.

“When buying fuel, be aware of the fuel price cycle and fill up when it is cheap,” Mr Case said. For a detailed fuel price monitor, go to the racv.com.au home page.

Mr Case said while car owners are in a good position to take advantage of lower loan costs he advises to look beyond the purchase price when shopping for a new car.

“Always be aware of the hidden costs – depreciation is the biggest single cost in owning a car, even if you don’t see it until it’s time to sell.”

The survey also found that servicing costs have increased in the past year. Mainstream brands offer capped price servicing but it is important to do your research as they aren’t all the same.

“It is important to know how much it costs to have your car serviced, to fill the tank, replace tyres, pay insurance, rego, stamp duty, spare parts and RACV membership,” Mr Case said.

Detailed results of the survey are available at: www.racv.com.au/drivingyourdollars

RACV calculations for the Driving Your Dollars survey are based on private ownership of a vehicle for a five year period and driving an average of 15,000 km each year. The data was collected in the period leading up to June 2015.