A few of us money bloggers have touched on the topic of "true costs of auto ownership" before. It's a money-trap to which, frankly, I think a WHOLE LOT of people are oblivious. (Thanks to my career, I get to see people's misguided beliefs and actions, with regard to their cars, every single day.) For my part, I toyed with Excel to come up with some figures in this IYM article
from November of last year.
Anyhow, here's yet another nice piece on the real purchase and ownership costs of automobiles:
CS Monitor: "...But Can You Afford It?"
And another (somewhat) related article, if you're really bored:
Reader's Digest: "How to Get Out of Debt and Get Rich"