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Lake Michigan (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Lake Michigan (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – Here’s some good — and perhaps surprising — news about owning a car in Chicago: It’s a lot cheaper to keep your vehicle running here than in most American cities.

Chicago ranked ninth least expensive out of 90 U.S. cities in average monthly automobile costs, according to a new study posted this week at bundle.com, a website devoted to analyzing spending patterns, with the goal of creating wiser consumers.

On average, Chicagoans spent $209 monthly between July 2009 and June, the study found. Automobile expenses include such things as trips to a mechanic, an oil change and new tires.

Bundle and study partner thestreet.com analyzed anonymous credit card data from some 20 million American households. Detroit was the least expensive city for car expenses, with a monthly average cost of $115.

The study also ranked the same 90 cities in terms of best and worst overall commutes. Chicago came in 63rd among the 90 cities, when other factors — including gas prices, miles traveled, time spent stuck in traffic — were taken into account. Overall, Eugene, Ore., had the best commute, while Dallas had the worst, according to the findings.

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