Monday, August 1, 2016

How much does it cost to own a car in the Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, to have a car is like throwing money into a bottomless pit.

I used to complain about taxes and fees for cars in Italy, but when I moved to the Netherlands, well, I discovered that Italy is Heaven with respect to the Netherlands.

Let's make a comparison and use, as a benchmark, a Ford Focus: we will pick up two models, benzine (around 100 horse-power) and diesel (around 110 horse-power), with a weight equals to 1500 Kg.

ITALY(655 euro per year)

The road tax (called "bollo"), annually, costs 230  €. The road tax is especially related to the power of the engine. It does not matter if it is diesel or petrol.

Basic insurance: in first class, roughly 400 euros per year, in Rome, with an on-line insurance company. The cost of insurance strongly depends on the place where you live and on your age. I put my case, which is very low.

Once every two years you have to pass the control of the government: it is roughly 50 euros, even if they do not find anything. So, 25 euros/year.

So, basic -bare minimum, to grant with the law- cost is, without using the car, 655 euros/ year.

NETHERLANDS (1337 - 2113 euro per year)

The road tax depends on the mass and especially on the type of fuel; it does not depend on the power of the engine.

So, for the Ford Focus Petrol: 912
For the Ford Focus Diesel: 1688

So, the diesel model is 85% more expensive than the petrol model.

Basic insurance: 400 euros per year, first class. Same of Italy.
Every year you have to pass the government control: 25 euros, so same of Italy.

So, basic -bare minimum, to grant with the law- cost is, without using the car,

1337 euro/year forthe  petrol vehicle
2113 euro/year for the diesel vehicle

So, the basic cost for a car in The Netherlands is two to three times higher than in Italy, if you simply keep your car parked on the road!

We have also to consider that in the Netherlands:
1. spare parts are more expensive
2. garages are more expensive
3. petrol is a bit more expensive, diesel is a bit less expensive than in Italy

You start to see why Dutch people move around by bike? :-) Did you really believe it was only because bicycle riding is healthy?

How many km do you have to drive in the Netherlands to be sure that a diesel car is more convenient for you than a petrol car?

Well, if N is the number of "100 km" you have to drive, Lb is the number of liters of petrol for 100 Km (roughly 6.7) , Ld is the number of liters of diesel for 100 km (roughly 5), cb is the cost of one liter of petrol (1.43) and cd is the cost of one liter of diesel (1.1 €), it turns out that the break-even point N is:

N*Lb*cb+Eb = N*Ld*cd+Ed

where Ed is 2113 € and Eb is 1337 €.

So, the break-even point for a diesel car like the Ford Focus is 19200 km in the Netherlands

We have not considered the initial cost of the vehicle, nor the maintenance expenses (spare parts, oil replacement, etc)


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  2. Hi Lorenzo,
    I'm moving to NL from Italy and I'm considering to bring by car with me.

    I've made the calculation and I will pay more or less as you for your Ford Focus.
    But this is the cost to pay to tax office every 3months.

    What about BPM?
    From this article it seems it must be payed as well and they talk about 3800EUR!

    Could you please explain me?

    thank you!

    1. Hi Alberto,

      in your case you do not have to pay for the BPM, since this is your car and you are not going to sell it in the Netherlands for at least one year. You can apply for the BPM exemption.

      Within 6 months from the moment you asked for the residence in the NL, you have to go to the BTW to register your car in the Dutch car ledger: there you will ask info on how to ask from BPM exemption. Beware that you will need to go to the BTW at least a couple of times! Be patient. :-)

      So, don't worry: you will not pay the BPM.
      But you will have to pay for the car registration for changing the plate. At the BTW there is the workshop where they can test the car, register the chassis number, etc. It costs around 200 euros, and it is a very thorough exam. It is the same as in Italy when you have to "reimmatricolare" the car.

  3. Hi Lorenzo,

    thank you for your reply,
    I see you are very well informd about rules in NL!

    Within 6months I'm obliged to change my italian number plate to dutch number plate to drive in NL?

    I can't continue to drive in NL with italian number plate?
    Probably is better to change it to dutch number plate, otherwise I will pay tax in italy tax in NL?

    1. It's at your own risk.
      If you do not replace the license plate with the Dutch one aftr 6 months you got the Dutch residence, you are eligible for a fine. The longer the time you keep the Italian license plate, the higher the fine if the police stop you.

      There are Italians who have never changed their plates, to save money, but they have to run this risk.

      Personally, since the fine may be up to several thousand euros (since you have not been paying the road tax for a long time..) I prefer to avoid this type of problems.

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