When you live as an anarchist in a Nanny-State – such as my native Denmark – some things are just something you don’t do. Not because you don’t want to but because… well, you’re not that stupid. One such thing is of course owning a TV, radio, computer or telephone, unless you use little tricks to avoid the massive fees and taxes the government puts on such things.
Another thing I don’t own and have no intention of owning is a car. Owning a car in Denmark is very expensive – why else do you think so many people ride their bicycles? Did you really believe the hype that we danes are oh-so-enviromentally conscious? No, we simply can’t afford owning a car.
A $20,000 car will cost a dane $53,000 and change. That’s 165% in a “registration-fee” alone!
It’ll cost you 105% of the first $12,000 and a staggering 150% of the remaining price of the car. All you get for that is the license-plates, which will of course also cost you a small fee, and the ‘right’ to own the car. You’ll need a drivers-license, of course, which costs around $1,000 depending on your instructor.
The bigger the car, the bigger the registration-fee will be because it isn’t a fixed fee, but depending on a percentage of the price of the car. And the reasoning behind these staggering prices for something as simple as a car?
In 1924 someone in government decided ‘luxury goods’ should be taxed. I have no idea whether it was the social-democratic government that resigned in 1924 or the ‘Left’ government who took over that signed the fee into law, but it’s been there ever since.
The problem at the time was that Denmark was doing as well as other countries and in order to halt the import of luxury goods, which cars were at the time, the government decided to tax them. Since then the taxes have been raised and until last year, 2015, it was a staggering 180%! Liberal Alliance have actually kept their promise from the elections last year and fought to decrease the registration-fee.
There are very good reasons why the government keeps this registration-fee. In 2014 the state made 2.1 billion dollars on registrations alone! And they’re not all the fees you have to pay to own a car.
Once we had a tax on cars based on their weight. The reasoning was that the car’s weight had an influence on how much wear and tear it made on the roads, and the roads need to be maintained, which costs money, of course. The tax has changed to a ‘Green Owner Tax’, based on the car’s fuelconsumption. I have no idea why they changed it, but they did.
Its not too expensive to be a ‘Green Owner’ of a car. The price ranges from 90$ per year for a small car that drives more than 12.5 miles per 0.2 gallons – sorry for the odd conversions from kilometers and liters to miles and gallons (could you please come over to the metric side, US?). – to $3,160 for a car that doesn’t drive more than 2.7 miles per 0.2 gallons.
It’s a fixed price that you have to pay to be allowed to own your car but even though it’s fixed the danish government still demands around 1.4 billion dollars from the danish car-owners every year.
In order to use our car we need fuel and it is, of course, highly taxed. As a matter of fact, the taxes are higher than the actual price of the fuel. Let’s say our car guzzles something as ordinary as Shell’s unleaded 92 Octane gasoline – since Shell have been kind enough to provide the details on the taxation on their fuel. Since it was that easy I spent the time it took to convert from liters and kroner to gallons and dollars. You’re welcome.
A gallon of gasoline costs $2.11 at Shell in Denmark. I checked the California prices at Shell for gas and they are pretty much at that level as I am writing this. But… we have taxes and taxes on taxes to pay. This is Denmark, the Nanny-State, remember?
First we have something they call “Energy Tax”. I have no clue why it’s there but it is. We add $2.30 to the price per gallon which is now $4.41 – for a gallon of gasoline!
We have a Co2 Tax worth $0.22, making our total $4.63. Co2 is any government’s go-to excuse for small taxes. I haven’t heard of any government actually cleaning the air themselves, but the taxes are still there. I wonder why?
The “NoX Tax” – very simular to the Co2 Tax – is just a little higher, but in converting Kroner to US Dollars it stays the same. Let’s just go with that and not get more depressed at the higher price? So, adding another $0.22 gives us a total of $4.85 – before salestax.
In Denmark there are taxes on taxes. The politicians feel no shame in this. The price of gasoline, adding the taxes for energy, Co2 and NoX will be taxed the danish salestax which is always 25% of the price. We pay $1.21 in salestaxes and finally we have our price for a gallon of gasoline in Denmark.
$6.06 per gallon. About three times the US prices. A lot gets lost in the conversions but in Denmark we pay about 3 times the actual price of gasoline, 2 thirds of which are taxes and taxes on taxes.
Whenever you hear about danes being really big on bicycles keep this in mind. Danes are apathetic, but not stupid. We don’t drive as much as americans do simply because it is so damned expensive because of taxes and taxes upon taxes. This is how the Nanny-State is financed.
It is actually the very reason I have never wasted my money on a driver’s license or ever even considered buying a car. Most of my friends don’t have cars, again – they’re not stupid. Besides, Denmark isn’t so big and we do have a rather nice, but very expensive public transport system. Also, Denmark is flat, which makes it perfect for bicycles.
I wonder how you americans will fare if you switch to the Nanny-State and the government put taxes on everything to finance it? We you become a new nation of bicycle-enthusiasts or have yourself a little civil war?