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DRIVING

The hidden costs of owning a car in Norway

Getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road may give you a sense of freedom, but trust us, that feeling doesn't come cheap. The Local has gathered a list of hidden costs for you to be aware of before you start up the engine.

The Atlantic Road in Norway.
There are a number of costs you should be aware of when getting a car in Norway. Pictured is the Atlantic Road in Norway. Photo by Leonardo Venturoli on Unsplash

It starts with your førerkort

Prepare to reach deep in your pockets if you’re getting your førerkort or “driving licence” in Norway. If you are from the EU/EEA, your licence from your home country is valid and can be exchanged for a Norwegian driving licence without taking any test.

However, if you are from a non-EU/EEA country, getting a Norwegian driving licence can be more challenging. And this is costly on both your time and wallet. If an exchange isn’t an option, expect to pay around 30,000 kroner to get your licence. 

Breaking it down -you’ll need to pay approximately 12,000 kroner for the required driving courses, another 12,000 on driving lessons with an instructor and 5,000 for taking both the theory and driving exam.

The car itself

Buying a vehicle is a significant investment for most of us. Especially in Norway, as the VAT (value-added tax) makes the cost of purchasing a car even more jaw-droppingly expensive. Moreover, many are surprised by having to pay a registration tax and a one-off registration fee before driving off the lot in their new wheels. 

In addition to the high tax, the depreciation of your investment will start to occur almost right away. Smartepenger reports an average 20 percent decline of value within the first year of owning a car in Norway. And approximately 10 percent decrease in value for every year after. The rapid depreciation in value is actually the highest cost of buying a car. It may save you time and increase your quality of life, but buying a car in this country is hardly ever viewed as a wise financial investment.  

Mandatory EU control

An automobile’s upkeep is usually one of the most expensive parts of car ownership. From major repairs to general maintenance, it would be wise to set aside money for these costs as they often come unexpectedly. Smartepenger states that more extensive services or repairs cost, on average, around 8000 kroner. 

By law, every two years, a car owner must take their car in for a mandatory EU control check. This is done to ensure the safety and overall roadworthiness of all vehicles. It’s excellent in principle and increases both drivers’ and passengers’ sense of security while on the road. But it comes at a price.

The base cost for an EU control will cost a vehicle owner around 1,000 kroner. Although it is very likely the mandatory check will cost you way more if they find something wrong with your car. It’s a societal norm to compare the surprisingly high bills one is charged with when they bring their car in for an EU control. 

The necessary switch

Å skifte dekk, or “to change tyres”, is another mandatory maintenance cost that many overlook when factoring in the yearly costs of car ownership. This expectation for the car owner is yet another aspect that contributes to the overall road safety for drivers. Winter tyres are expected to be on your automobile from November 1st up until the Sunday after Easter Sunday.

On average, it costs around 2,800 kroner to change the tires. It’s an additional 2,800 kroner if you want the automobile shop to store your winter or summer tyres for you. If your car tyres need to be rotated, expect to have them through another 400 kroner to the final cost. 

The tolls 

If you commute to work, don’t buy a car until you find out how much the tolls are on the roads you use daily. There are around 200 toll roads in Norway, each of them has its own specific price. (Newer roads typically cost the most to drive on). Pengenytt reports that drivers who drive an average of 25,000 kilometres a year can expect to pay 4,250 kroner per year in toll fees. Keep in mind this is just the average. You should expect to pay a much higher sum if you are commuting on multiple toll roads – like the many going in and out of Oslo, for example. 

Besides not paying for fuel, Electric cars have become a popular vehicle choice in Norway for many as they receive a deeply discounted price on toll roads. 

Petrol

Whatever you’re expecting to pay yearly for petrol in Norway, double that figure, and you’ll likely be more accurate. Norway has some of the highest fuel prices in Europe. The at-times sky-high prices are mainly due to taxes on fuel imposed by the government and the usual international market factors.

Of course, electric cars can be excluded from this extra cost. But if you’re debating on buying an automobile that uses fuel, you need to factor in how much of your paycheck will be going to this necessity. Finance says on average, a person will spend 16,759.5 kroner per year on petrol and 11,344.5 kroner per year on diesel.  

Strict penalties

Breaking Norway’s traffic laws can be costly. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you don’t test your luck and obey the traffic rules at all times. If not for a clean licence, then for your wallet. 

In addition to police patrols, many Norwegian roads use speed cameras. As noted on the Norwegian Police website, Norway has many road traffic laws and regulations.

Here are some of the surprising costs that can be incurred for breaking traffic laws.

  • Failure to stop at a red light can result in a fine of 6,800 kroner, while not giving way when required can also set you back that amount. You can also be fined 5,500 kroner for driving unlawfully in a public transport lane.
  • Talking on a mobile phone without using the hands-free technology costs 1,700 kroner in fines for a first time offender. This will also be marked as an offence on your permanent traffic record.
  • Driving without a licence has been reported to be punishable with a fine of up to a whopping 10,000 kroner.

 To sum it up

It’s very easy to be unaware of how much it really costs to own a vehicle in Norway. The more obvious costs, such as a car loan and car insurance, are just two of the many additional hidden costs that one should consider when finding out how much owning a 

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DRIVING

EXPLAINED: How owning an electric car in Norway could change

More and more motorists in Norway are ditching the petrol pumps and going all-electric. However, several changes could be introduced, which would significantly affect the cost and the practicality of owning an electric car.

EXPLAINED: How owning an electric car in Norway could change

More than half of all new cars sold in Norway are electric vehicles, and recently the government has introduced or announced several proposals which affect EV owners. 

Unfortunately, most changes put forward by the government will make it more expensive to own an EV. However, they have said they will look into one thing which would make owning an electric car much more straightforward. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about owning an electric car in Norway

Government to consider scrapping toll road and tax discounts

Toll deductions for electric cars could be reduced or scrapped as the country’s transport ministry is concerned public transport ministry is losing out to low-emission vehicles. 

A law previously passed by parliament holds that electric cars should never incur more than 50 percent of the tax applied to petrol and diesel equivalents.

But reduced public transport revenues related to higher electric car use, as well as lower intakes from tolls around Oslo because the rate paid by electric cars is lower, are causing the government to rethink, NRK reports.

“It’s great that people use electric cars. But we are not well served by people getting into their cars and drive into busy city areas instead of walking, bicycling or taking public transport,” Nygård said. 

READ MORE: Why owning an electric car in Norway could become more expensive

Re-registration fee introduced

At the beginning of May, it became more expensive for used EVs to change hands. Every time a used electric car is sold, a re-registration fee of up to 1,670 kroner will need to be paid. 

The cost will depend on the car’s age, with the fee being cheaper for older EVs. The re-registration charge is also 75 percent cheaper for electric vehicles than regular ones. 

The government hasn’t explicitly outlined whether this discount could be reduced in the future. 

Tolls in Oslo to go up

Various outlets report that the cost of driving within Oslo’s toll roads will go up twice, once in September 2022 and then again in January 2024. 

The toll hike was agreed upon as part of the third Oslo package. Oslo City Council and Akershus County Council must officially approve the agreement. 

If discounts on tolls are axed or decreased, electric car owners will be hit even more by the increases. 

VAT on electric cars could be announced in the revised budget for 2022

MVA or VAT could be introduced when the government presents its revised national budget for 2022 in mid-May, experts have predicted. 

The government proposed introducing a VAT on electric cars that cost more than 600,000 kroner when it was formed last October. VAT on vehicles is calculated based on several factors

The introduction of VAT didn’t come in the new year as expected, but now industry experts are anticipating its announcement in the revised budget.  

The Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) has told online publication Nettavisen that it expected VAT to be introduced eventually. 

Charging could become simpler

The government will look into making charging easier by making sure a universal payment method is adopted, Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård has told newspaper VG

Currently, you cannot use one universal payment method, app or card to pay for all fast chargers in Norway. 

“It looks like it is necessary,” Nygård said of a standard payment method for charging to VG. 

The transport minister added that a solution wouldn’t be introduced until next year at the earliest. This autumn, the government will present a new strategy for electric car charging. 

Tesla to allow other models to use the Supercharger charging network

Tesla has launched a pilot project which opens its Supercharger network to non-Tesla vehicles. 

58 stations are open to non-Tesla cards, with plans to open more stations and charging posts to other vehicles in the future. 

Owners of non-Tesla vehicles pay more than Tesla owners for charging. However, the cost is still on par with other charging stations, technology news site Tek.no reports. 

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