The most expensive countries for car owners index 2024

James McCay

Jun 5, 2024

Cars can be a necessity. For others, driving is a taste of freedom, mobility and adventure. Whether you love your car or simply need one, there’s no escaping that vehicles cost money to buy and own.

Fuel, maintenance, taxes and registration, insurance, parking fees, depreciation – there’s a host of factors that can see your car impact your wallet.

As experts in car insurance, we looked at the cost of car ownership in 26 different countries in 2023. This year, we’re revisiting these countries to see what’s changed, and which countries are now the most expensive to own a vehicle.

a white sports car driving on a mountain road

The three most expensive countries for car ownership 2024

1. Norway

a view of white, red, yellow and orange Norwegian buildings by the water with snowy mountains behind

Replacing Denmark in the top spot is Norway. In 2023, Norway was in eighth place, but now is ranked the most expensive at US$6,081 a year, bumping Denmark down to fourth. Every expense apart from average annual tolls went up in Norway in the past year, with depreciation going up by over $100 on average. Norway took the top spot in the rankings because it has the most expensive average annual spend on tolls ($407), the most expensive average vehicle inspection fees (tying with Germany at $260), as well as other high expenses.

Norway also has the third-highest average annual depreciation of a vehicle’s value ($1,806), fourth-most expensive average annual spend on insurance ($887), third-most expensive average washing and cleaning spend ($113) and the second-most expensive average fuel cost at time of writing ($2.188 per litre).

2. Germany

a view of Sigmaringen Castle in Germany on a sunny day

Maintaining its place as the second-most expensive country to own a car is Germany. The European nation saw increases across the board, with jumps in average depreciation and fuel – both over $100 extra per year. In 2024 the average cost of owning a car in Germany is $5,898 a year. Germany had the second-highest depreciation ($1,820) and the fifth-highest average insurance cost ($795). The nation also had the most expensive average spend on car inspections (tying with Norway at $260) and other high costs across several categories.

Germany also had one of the highest average decreases in maintenance and repair spending ($1,452); however, 22 out of 26 nations saw decreased spending on this category. This means Germany’s high costs (all but two factors increased since 2023) took away any benefit from the drop in maintenance spending, ensuring Germany remained in second place on our index.

3. USA

a view of the white house with trees and river in front on a cloudy day

The United States replaced Finland as the third-most expensive country in the car ownership cost index, with Finland dropping all the way down to eighth place. This is a substantial increase from 2023 when America was ranked 10th most expensive. The USA saw cost increases in almost all categories, with three categories – depreciation, insurance and annual fuel spend – each increasing by over $30, with inspection, tax and parking spend each increasing by over $15 in a year. This brings the average cost of car ownership up to $5,688 a year.

America saw the fifth biggest average depreciation ($1,645), the second-highest average insurance spend (tying with Ireland at US$1,080) as well as the fifth-largest average annual spend on maintenance and repairs (tying with Finland at $679 a year).

The three cheapest countries for car ownership 2024

1. Argentina

a street of colourful houses in Argentina

Maintaining its place as the cheapest country (out of 26 nations) for car ownership is Argentina. When all the figures were counted, Argentina had the lowest total average annual spend ($603 a year in total across nine categories), the fifth-cheapest fuel price ($1.096 a litre), and the cheapest licence cost (which made up the index score – see the methodology below for details).

Argentina had the biggest price decreases in six separate categories (depreciation, insurance, tax, fuel, parking and toll spending), as well as the second-biggest decrease in washing and cleaning spend. In fact, Argentina had the lowest costs across all average annual spending categories, cementing Argentina’s position as the cheapest country for car ownership, based on how much money people are actually spending on their cars.

2. Russia

a view of the Council of Labor and Defense building in Russia behind a lampost

Displacing Colombia and preventing a repeat of last year’s all South American sweepstake of the three cheapest countries is Russia. Russia had some of the biggest decreases in average spending across multiple categories, including the second biggest decreases in depreciation, insurance, inspection and tax spending. The annual average cost for car ownership in Russia is $2,582.

Russia had the second-cheapest average insurance, maintenance and parking spend ($214, $370 and $69 respectively), third-lowest annual fuel and toll spend ($1,057 and $27), as well as the fourth-lowest tax spend of all countries for 2024 ($58).

3. Colombia

an orange and grey church next to houses in Colombia

Dropping from second to third was Colombia. While Argentina and Russia saw a number of decreases in average spending, Colombia saw increases across the board between 2023 and 2024. However, Colombia still had very low prices in 2024, hence why it scored so well on the index. The total running cost in Colombia is $3,089 per year on average.

Colombia had the second-lowest spend on fuel per year ($784), the fourth-cheapest depreciation and maintenance spend ($767 and $396 respectively), and the fifth-cheapest spend on insurance ($312), as well as low costs in a number of other categories in relation to other countries on the index.

The table below has all the figures and results for 2024.

Most expensive countries for car ownership index 2024

RankCountryDepreciationInsurance costInspection costTax & registration costMaintenance costFuel spendParking spendToll spendWashing spendAVG Fuel cost per litre*Licensing costs^Index score

All costs are in USD. Additionally, with the exception of fuel price per litre and licensing costs, all prices represent an annual average spend in that category.

Where does Australia sit on the index?

In 2024 Australia was ranked seventh, which represents an increase from 11th in 2023.

The biggest increase in annual average spending for Australia was fuel, which had a $138 increase to $1,754 a year. Australia was in the top ten highest average spending countries for a number of categories including car insurance ($772), inspections ($152), maintenance and repairs ($655) and fuel ($1,754).

Apart from average spending on car maintenance, every other category saw an increase in spending from 2023 – reflecting the growing cost of living pressure on Australian motorists.

People are spending less at the mechanic – but not because mechanics are getting cheaper

While most spending categories saw increases, and a few nations had some decreases in a couple of areas, there was a substantial decrease in maintenance and repair spending. Twenty-two countries saw a decrease, while only four saw an increase in this area. Additionally, 18 of the countries that had a decrease from 2023 went down by more than $1,000, and two had a decrease over $950. Of those that had an increase in the average annual spend on repairs and maintenance, only Ireland had an increase over $100.

Does this mean that the cost of repairing and looking after cars has gotten cheaper? Far from it.

As reported by Axios in July 2023, car repairs had increased in cost by almost 20% in the USA.1 The factors affecting America are happening globally due to rising costs and labour shortages.2,3 So if prices are increasing, how is spending down?

The simple answer is people are likely spending less on car repairs to save money or because they can’t afford it.4

This of course is not without risk. Skipping or avoiding car repairs now can see important issues worsen, possibly leading to breakdowns, more expensive critical repairs, and potentially causing a dangerous road accident later on.

Does car insurance cover you if you don’t get your car serviced?

Car insurance helps pay for damages to other people’s property and your own car (depending on your level of cover), but there are some exceptions, known as ‘exclusions’.

Compare the Market’s Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor, said failing to maintain your car and get necessary repairs can fall under your insurance exclusions – which means you might not be covered if something goes wrong.

“Car insurance may not cover repairs and replacement to your car if it is deemed to be caused by a mechanical failure from wear and tear or poor maintenance,” Mr Taylor said.

“This is because mechanical failure is preventable event and failing to keep your car roadworthy can means that you have not upheld the conditions for cover to be provided. Make sure you check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for details on exclusions and your duties as a car owner.”


Compare the Market sourced figures for 11 different car ownership cost factors across 26 countries.

Nine of these 11 factors are annual average figures. These annual average figures were added together for each nation to create a total annual average spend.

Using Autocosts data and country-by-country car licensing fees, the overall index scores were based on three categories:

  1. Total annual average spend amount
  2. Average cost of fuel per litre
  3. Cost of a car license

Each country was given a score between 0 and 10 for each of these three numbers. The more expensive the figure, the higher the score. These three scores were then averaged together to create the index score.

The 11 factors are:

* All prices were gathered on and accurate as of 18/03/2024 but subject to change. Prices were converted from local currencies into USD and AUD on 26/03/24 and rounded to the nearest dollar.

^ These licensing fees are for a driver license renewal or application and cover different lengths of validity in each country. Some countries may have multiple options for licensing costs, additional fees and options that may affect the rankings of countries within our index.

Licensing costs source list (alphabetical order):


  1. The cost of car repairs is surging amid widespread shortages. Kelly Tyko, Axios. 2023.
  2. I’m a motoring expert and here’s why the cost of repairing your car will soar in 2024. Freda Lewis-Stempel, This is Money. 2024.
  3. Troubleshooter: Is repair inflation normal, or is it time to fire your mechanic? Brian Turner, Driving. 2023.
  4. Car repair costs are up almost 20% over the past year. Here are 6 reasons why. Greg Iacurci, CNBC. 2023.