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, 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 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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