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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Car re-Licensing in the US

Having had my car almost two years, the time has come to relicense it. In the UK it would currently cost £245 to get a 1 year tax disk for my 2007 Mazda 3, though actually my engine size (2 litres) appears to be a 1.6L in the UK. In the US it cost $86 for 2 years, so $ for £ about 1/6 of the cost.

The process is simple. The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) sends me a letter reminder that my registration is due (the vehicle registration is equivalent to a UK tax disk), I go online to renew it (takes 5 minutes), and a few days later my new stickers arrive in the mail. All I do is put the 2014 stickers over the 2012 stickers in the bottom right corner of the license plate, and it's done, for the next two years. There is no MOT (for US readers, that's a test that your vehicle is roadworthy, and non-polluting) in our City, and only Portland in all or Oregon requires an emissions test. In case you're wondering about pollution, the air here is the cleanest I've ever known in a city, with mosses and lichens growing on rocks and trees even at the busiest intersections.

I could, if I chose, pay for a new pair of plates and get a new number, background picture, or even make up my own registration plate, but all these options cost extra, so I didn't. Maybe one year I'll get my own special plates, but for now the dollars are more use elsewhere.

For people wondering about gas prices, we are currently paying around $4 per US Gallon here in Eugene, prices varying between $3.88 and $4.19 depending on where you go. We usually fill up at our local Fred Meyer because it's close and we get 3c per gallon off just by having a Fred Meyer loyalty card (which is free). If we spend enough in a month (on anything they sell, not just gas) we get 10c off per gallon. The average UK price in February was £5.11 per US Gallon, though gas (petrol) is sold in litres there, at £1.35 per litre.

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