Has driving your car become a luxury?

I’ve heard it over and over again - The gas prices in America are out of control. Are they really?

This got me interested. What are the costs of car ownership in the US? How much are you paying? I don’t mean gas alone. Insurance, taxes - How much do you have to pay to drive a car?

I’ll give you an example from Germany - just to make you feel better *g*.

Yours truly drives a VW Passat, built in 1998, about 30 miles per gallon.

Gas Price: 1,35 Euro per liter, about $6,95 per gallon.

Insurance: $542.95 per year

Taxes: $179 per year

Add an additional $120 for the obligatory main inspections every 2 years.

I haven’t listed the obsolescence, wear and tear costs and stuff like that. They are slightly higher in Germany, but not that much.

Now I’d like to know: What do you have to pay in the US? Is the gas price the only difference? Do you pay more or less for insurance/taxes?

Drop me a comment if you’d like to satisfy my curiosity :-).

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Comment by Justin
2007-04-26 21:24:19

Well in Oregon (at least outside of the big cities where I live), there is nothing like TÜV or emission controls of any kind. I drive a ‘93 BMW 325i and I get about 25 miles per gallon driving around town and about 32 when driving on the highway. I pay around $900 a year for insurance and depending on the day somewhere around $3.00 per gallon for Premium gas. Every two years I have to re-register my car for $50 and every 10 years or so I have to re-new my driver’s license for $60 bucks.

I can’t complain. I hate when people complain all day long about gas prices. We really pay nothing compared to Germany and most people’s insurance is a lot cheaper than mine. And I’m sure maintenance costs are quite a bit lower here, too.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-04-26 22:08:31

Hmm, $900 a year for insurance is not really a small change, but apart from that the numbers sound reasonable. Especially to German ears *g*.

Thanks for the overview.

Comment by Justin
2007-04-28 21:24:49

Yeah, and the insurance is only that high because I am an unmarried male under the age of 25 with a few tickets on my record and I carry full coverage insurance on a BMW (considered a luxury car here, even though it is 14 years old). Most people pay a lot less than I do.

Comment by Kaylen
2007-04-30 05:38:49

I’m also in Oregon!
I have a 97 Honda CRV, a mini-SUV. I pay about $575 a year for insurance, as a single female over the age of 25-BUT we now have a pesky law that links your credit history to your car insurance. My credit is not the greatest and as such, my insurance is just a tad higher than it should be. If I had perfect credit, I think I could probably get a $525 yearly insurance.

I filled up last week for $3.19/gallon. Today it is $3.29.

It has absolutely influenced me not to drive as much though–which is a good thing.

Comment by Tobsy
2007-04-30 12:13:10

I agree. Higher gas prices discourage people from wasting gas and thus polluting the air with no reason. That’s why we have an extra eco-tax in Germany. Although when it’s combined with a raise in oil prices - it’s starting to hurt a little.

Comment by Justin
2007-05-03 10:32:09

Als ich in Dtld im Jahre 1992 studierte, wollte alle Menschen meinen Fuehrerschein immer sehen, und wollte wissen, wie wenig es gekostet hat. Sie sind erstaunt.

Comment by jdhatl
2007-05-03 10:35:41

Not just the cost of driving- how about the mandatory driving lessons, here you just have to parallel park and stop at the stop lights, if your not on drugs or drunk while taking the test, and have $20 you can drive. Sometimes now you have to bring proof of insurance, which can get expensive, there are a lot of really snaky insurance companies that charge way more than others. And ghetto areas have more expensive gas than suburbs (though still half the price of European gas)

Comment by Ryan
2007-05-06 21:38:47

I’m in car country southern california and drive an audi. It cost $50 bucks at 3.40 a gallon yesterday to fill up. My insurance is about $1400 a year, while the yearly registration tax in CA is $230.

Comment by Kimber
2007-05-16 19:54:59

May I pose a few questions for thought?

I know that my post is not really answering the “cost of having a car” question you put out there, but as I was reading your post about the gas prices, I couldn’t help but develop a few questions of my own.

Ummm … isn’t there more to it than the cost of having and driving a car?

What are our transportation options (in the US), really? Quality Public Transportation which is readily accessible … reliably on time … like the Germans have? (I wish!!) How about a network of excellent bike paths … only for bikes …. going to wherever you need to go? (yet another wish!). Walking? There are no quaint little bread shops, cheese shops, and fresh markets nearby. I don’t know about you, but the closest grocery store to my home is a 3.8 mile (6.1 Km) round-trip. That’s quite a distance to schlepp groceries for 5 people.

There is also the question of affordability. It doesn’t really matter how expensive the gas is … $2 a gallon, or $50 a gallon. The question is … can you afford it on your income? I believe that a good portion of citizens in the US were living on tight budgets before the gas started skyrocketing …. and now their budgets are not only tight, but painfully tight.

The gas price is not only affecting your diving costs and home heating costs either. Companies with goods to sell are raising their prices to compensate for their increast cost of delivering their goods across country. Along with the rise in gasoline, groceries and other necessities have risen along with it. What didn’t rise, were the incomes.

I am not trying to be defensive here … just adding some fuel for thought. .

Thank you for alowing me to participate.


Comment by Tobsy
2007-05-16 22:28:10

Oh, thank you for your brilliant contribution.

Comment by Matt
2007-05-16 20:36:24

Kimber should move to Boulder, Colorado. They have excellent public transportation and bike/walking paths all over the city.

As for me, living just outside of Boulder, I drive a 14 year old small pickup truck. I’m paying $3.20/gal for gas, about $29 annually for registration and about $260 annually for insurance. The registration cost here are based on the age and value of your vehicle. A new SUV worth $40,000 would cost about $900 or more to register the first year. It declines each year after.

Eine bier, bitte


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