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VIENNA, VA (June 27, 2024) – Navy Federal Credit Union is today launching the Cost of Car Ownership (COCO) Index, helping consumers to quickly assess the costs of auto ownership and make better decisions on buying, financing and maintenance. The COCO Index is a statistical measure that tracks 11 components of auto ownership costs, and reports the change in each over time to build a complete picture of auto cost trends in the United States. 

This tool is a response to the rapidly rising costs of auto ownership, which are causing an unprecedented burden on transportation budgets for consumers across the country. Not only have prices risen rapidly for both new and used cars, but auto insurance and repair costs have soared much higher than the rate of inflation. 

“At Navy Federal, we’re committed to giving our members the information they need to make informed decisions about major financial challenges,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal. “We hope the COCO Index will provide Navy Federal members and consumers generally with straightforward ways to minimize the costs of auto ownership. For example, this report shows that right now is a good time to shop for late model, low-mileage used vehicles as there’s a glut of inventory at many dealers. This is in dramatic contrast to just one year ago, when high used auto prices had yet to break and the selection was much more limited.”

The COCO Index tracks the price of new and used vehicle sales, gasoline, maintenance, insurance and various fees. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with prices from January 2020 serving as the COCO Index baseline (100 points). This baseline date was selected so the COCO Index could capture the soaring costs of auto ownership during and since the COVID recession, due to a shortage of critical microchips and other supply chain disruptions.

"The automotive industry has seen major changes in the last few years—from supply chain disruptions and inventory shortages to increased labor costs and new patterns in buying behavior. To help navigate these constant changes, Navy Federal created a tool that offers insights to consumers to help them make more informed decisions," said Joe Pendergast, vice president of consumer lending at Navy Federal. “In addition to the raw data, experts from across the credit union’s automotive, economics and personal finance teams will share commentary on the state of the auto market and develop resources to further support consumers during the shopping and buying process.”

Buyers need to be aware of higher ownership costs to avoid overextending and purchasing a vehicle they cannot afford to maintain. The COCO Index was designed to be a useful reference point for buyers looking to strike the appropriate balance between affordability and durability with their vehicle purchase. 

Since 2020, the COCO Index has risen to indicate a 39% increase (100 to 139 points) in the total cost of owning a car over the last four years. In that same time period, the Consumer Price Index only rose by 21%.

The biggest drivers of this increase are repairs and auto insurance premiums, followed by new and used auto prices, and then gas. The full breakdown of component price increases and how they affect the COCO Index is below.

A few key insights: 

  • Navy Federal expects that insurance prices will continue to rise, but at a somewhat slower rate than in the last year. 
  • Similarly, maintenance and repair costs will climb as vehicle parts and labor costs keep growing more expensive. 
  • New and used auto prices have started to decline, with new auto prices falling slowly but used prices falling quickly. 
  • A fully-stocked inventory of used vehicles – even late model, low-mileage vehicles – means they’re the sweet spot for car buyers, and many dealers will negotiate on price.  
  • The most volatile component of the COCO Index is gasoline – where prices fluctuate widely – which has risen sharply in cost this year and may continue on that trajectory through the peak summer driving season. 

Navy Federal will update the COCO Index quarterly, with the next release scheduled for publication in early Q4 2024. To learn more about Navy Federal’s auto buying and lending resources, visit

Component Increases and How They Affect the COCO Index

Individual Component Inflation

ComponentChange Since 01/2020
Motor vehicle repair48%
Motor vehicle insurance46%
Motor vehicle body work31%
Used cars and trucks30%
Gasoline (all types)29%
Motor vehicle maintenance and servicing27%
All items21%
Vehicle accessories other than tires21%
New vehicles20%
Parking and other fees11%
State motor vehicle registration and license fees7%

Component Contribution to Index Change

ComponentContribution Since 01/2020
Gasoline (all types)29%
Motor vehicle insurance25%
Used cars and trucks13%
Motor vehicle repair11%
Motor vehicle maintenance and servicing7%
New vehicles6%
Motor vehicle body work5%
Vehicle accessories other than tires1%
Parking and other fees 1%
State motor vehicle registration and license fees0%
Index total39%
Navy Federal Credit Union: Established in 1933 with only seven members, Navy Federal now has the distinct honor of serving more than 13 million members globally and is the world’s largest credit union. As a member-owned and not-for-profit organization, Navy Federal always puts the financial needs of its members first. Membership is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, Veterans, civilian and contractor personnel, and their families. Navy Federal employs a workforce of over 24,000 and has a global network of 356 branches. For more information about Navy Federal Credit Union, visit Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Opportunity Employer.