Why should one care about car ownership costs? Because car related expenses are a major part of one's living expenses. For me, after acquiring the second car, I expect to take around $7,500 cost in the next 12 months on depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel. This compares to $12,300 for home ownership expenses including mortgage interest, property tax and homeowner insurance.
MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston discussed some aspects of the total ownership cost. In the attached tables, we can see comparable cars usualy have dramatic difference in regular repair, insurance and collision repair costs.
For this topic, Edmund's Total Cost to Own is a complete model to estimate running cost for most cars.
Back to my situation, I should say my car related expenses are already low because I keep a minimalist attitude toward transportation. I am sure I can get a fancy BMW or Mercedes-Benz on installment, but this will drive my cost up by another $7,500 per year. As I estimate my wife and I spend up to 1 hour per day in the car on average, I don't see the rationale to pay $20/hour extra to sit in a luxurious car. Yes, you can call me a cheapskate.