Driver’s Costs and Expenses

Many new drivers underestimate the various car costs they have to shell out for, whether they be fixed (standing charges at certain points of the year) or ones that may be altered. We often put ourselves in debt by buying a car but sometimes expenses get out of hand—we get “car poor.”

It’s worth shopping around on comparison sites to obtain the best value for items like insurance or other costs which vary from vendor to vendor.

Most people are aware of the running costs – fuel, maintenance, parking and fines, as well as insurance but there are other payments to consider. The car itself may not be paid off in one lump sum but you need to be fairly soluble finance-wise in order to afford it.

Let’s face it, the individual costs are a headache, so it is well worth creating a check-list so you make sure you don’t miss anything and don’t receive any nasty surprises.

Every vehicle in the US needs its own certificate of ownership. It shows the owner’s name and address, the registration number and various other details.

The applications need to be made to the state office, which may be the Department of Motor Vehicles. When selling the vehicle, the seller should endorse the certificate of title. Another thing the seller should do is notify the office which issued the certificate that a sale has been made.

As well as this (hopefully endorsed) certificate of title you also need…

  • Proof of ownership, which may be the certificate of sale
  • Proof of your identity including your date of birth
  • Proof of insurance
  • Sales tax clearance
  • An emission inspection certificate if needed
  • The completed registration form and the fee itself. This may be a flat fee or could be based on such variables as age, value or even weight of the car. (If you wish a personalised plate you will need to pay more.)

If you are wishing to move to another state, you will need to re-register your vehicle pretty soonish. You may need to apply for a visitor’s permit if you have to drive in an unregistered car while waiting for registration to take place.

There are special municipalities in the US which charge a particular tax rate. Trucks or buses in contrast have to pay a heavy use tax, though vans and pick-up trucks pay the normal amount. If you travel more than 5,000 miles by the truck you don’t have to pay this tax.

In addition to these taxes New York has a Highway Use Tax which is similar to the congestion charge found in several foreign cities.

There are numerous other costs to consider, items such as car seats if you happen to have young children, a sat nav if your car doesn’t have one in-built, and various products to help with day-to-day running such as a de-icer or car polish.

But there’s so much pleasure in the open road, it must be worth all the expense? Right?

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