LeasePlan Index reveals divergent total costs of car ownership in Europe

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The average cost of car ownership can vary by up to €344 per month between the most expensive and cheapest European countries surveyed, new LeasePlan research finds.

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The CarCost Index found that Norway is the most expensive for owning a petrol car.

According to the firm’s CarCost Index, Norway is the most expensive country for owning a petrol car at €708 per month, while Hungary is the cheapest at €364 per month. Meanwhile, car owners in the Netherlands pay the most to owns a diesel car at €695 per month and at €369 per month Hungarians pay the least. 

The research compares the most important cost elements, including purchase price, deprecation costs, repairs and maintenance, insurance, taxes and fuel expenses, for the small-to-medium car segment based on the first three years of operational costs and an annual mileage of 20,000km.

In only six of the 24 European countries studied, driving a diesel car is more expensive than driving a petrol car. Although the pump price for diesel is cheaper than the price for petrol, other factors such as taxes, insurance, or maintenance costs explain the higher total cost for diesel vehicles in some countries.

The study also showed that costs were higher in countries using taxation to clamp down on higher-emission vehicle take-up. For example, in the Netherlands, VAT and road tax add up to 31% of the total costs of driving a diesel car. When it comes to petrol vehicles, Norway is number one in taxes, which can add up to 29% of the total cost.

LeasePlan also revealed that repair and maintenance costs are highest in Sweden at 15% (€85) of total cost. In comparison, Turkey has the lowest repair and maintenance costs at €28 per month. This is unsurprising, since labour costs represent a significant share of the repair and maintenance expenditure and Sweden’s hourly labour rate can be three times as high as in Turkey.

However, the single biggest factor affecting ownership costs is depreciation, which accounts for 37% of overall ownership costs in Europe on average. followed by road tax and VAT (20%).

LeasePlan added that the figures show the need to consider whole-life costs when making vehicle selections.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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