COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- The average yearly cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States decreased 2.7 percent to 59.2 cents per mile, or $8,876 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of yearly driving, according to AAA’s annual “Your Driving Costs” study. The overall decrease is fueled mainly by a drop in fourth quarter gas prices and increased fuel economy.

"The same time that you saw fuel costs a little bit lower we also have seen the average fuel economy increase and so that's really helped keep some money in people's wallets," said Kimberly Schwind with AAA Ohio.

The costs associated with maintaining a sedan increased nearly 2 percent to an average of 5 cents a mile. This estimate is based upon the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles, including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty policy.

After several years of increases due to rising costs for raw materials, energy and transportation, tire prices for 2014 have decreased three percent to 0.97 cents per mile. The decrease can be credited to less expensive tires on certain redesigned sedans and some declining tire prices.

After a small rise in depreciation last year, the tide has turned and depreciation decreased for 2014 to an average of $3,510 per year. While the numbers are improved in all three sedan categories, they are particularly strong in the medium-size area.

In 2014, average insurance costs remain essentially unchanged at an average annual cost of $1,023, compared to $1,029 last year, for low-risk drivers with clean driving records. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region.

Cost vary greatly depending on the vehicle type. Small sedans cost about 46.4 cents per mile while SUVs can run you 73.6 cents per mile.

"The purpose of this is really to help people budget and help people make smart decisions when they are purchasing a vehicle," Schwind said.

AAA has published “Your Driving Costs” since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)