How Much Does It Cost To Own a Car in France?

France has one of the most incredible and affordable public transport systems globally, making it easy to move around the country. Nonetheless, buying a car might be more convenient, especially if you live outside the metropolitan areas where public transport stations are far from residential areas.

Owning a car in France can cost you between €5,000 and €10,000 per year. This amount covers insurance, registration fee, fuel, and regular maintenance. Purchasing a new car will cost you around €25,000, and buying a used one costs at least €3,000.

This article breaks down the monthly and annual costs of owning a car in France. It looks into the main expenses of owning a vehicle in detail and discusses the price of buying used and new cars in the country. The cost of owning a car also depends on the car; read this article to learn about the cheapest cars in France.

Is it expensive to have a car in France: Cost breakdown

The average annual cost of owning a car in France is between €5,883 and €6,063. These numbers include fuel, insurance, maintenance, road tolls, and other accidental costs.

At the same time, your minimal expenses for having a car in France will average €472 per month for a petrol vehicle and €475 for a diesel engine. Driving an electric car is expensive in France; expect to pay about €836 per month.

Learn about where to find a car in France in this article.

The cost of owning a car in France varies depending on the following: 

1. Insurance

The French law requires you to have an insurance policy for your vehicle even if it’s not in use, and failure to do this can lead to a fine of up to €3,650. Car insurances in France cover the car rather than the driver; therefore, anyone can use your vehicle once it’s insured as long as they have a valid driving license.

In France, car insurances cost vary depending on the following factors:

  • Driver profile – The higher the accident history, the more you pay for insurance.
  • Value of the vehicle – More expensive cars require higher premiums.
  • Frequency of using the car – Most companies offer “pay as you drive” and “pay per km” options.
  • Use of the vehicle – Work cars have more expensive premiums.
  • Type of coverage – Comprehensive insurance costs the most while the third-party is the cheapest.
  • Location – Different areas in France have unique car insurance premiums.

If you own a car in France, you have the following insurance options: 

Fully-comprehensive

This insurance policy offers total coverage after an accident, whether you were at fault or not. It’s ideal for anyone who owns an expensive car and is frequently using it. 

A comprehensive car insurance policy will cost you around €800 a year in France. This amount can rise to €1,000 for an expensive type of car, one that’s in frequent use or older than five years.

Third-party

This is the minimum car insurance policy you can have in France; it covers the third party in cases where you or anyone driving your car is at fault. It doesn’t cover personal damages such as repairing the car, which makes it perfect for someone who doesn’t use their vehicle too often. 

Third-party insurance costs around €400 a year, but this varies depending on the number of cars you insure; most companies offer discounts if you insure more than one vehicle. 

Third-party plus

A third-party plus insurance policy covers you in case of an accident where you’re at fault. It also compensates you in case of theft, collision with an animal, storms, or windscreen damage. This insurance policy will cost you around €600 yearly, but the amount varies depending on the company you choose and the things it covers.

2. Car maintenance

For a car to serve you perfectly for long, you must take it for service at least once every three months. In France, car maintenance will likely cost you around €1,700 annually. Some of the most common maintenance costs are:

  • Car battery: €120 to €350 
  • A new set of car tires: €100 and €1,200
  • Shock absorbers: €400 and €1,000

Which cars are the cheapest to buy in France?

3. Depreciation

On buying a car in France, its value depreciates by 25% in the first year and 15% in the second one. In the third and fourth years, a vehicle’s value decreases by a minimum of 10%.

4. License

According to French law, you must have a valid driving license before being on the road, which will cost you around €1,804. To acquire this license, you must undergo training and sit for an exam. The charges required for the whole process may be as follows:

  • Highway Code formula: €4.99
  • Examination place: €30
  • License training: from €39 per hour

5. Parking

The cost of parking spaces in France varies from region to region, but the average price is €59 per month. Below is the monthly parking cost in some popular cities in France:

  • Le Havre: €17
  • Paris: €115 
  • Metz: €88
  • Dijon: €33 
  • Nice: €97
  • Montpellier: €32.5 

6. Fuel

When buying a car in France, you need to consider the fueling cost, which is an average of €1.92 per liter.

Below is a diagram showing the average cost of a liter of gasoline in France from March 2022 to June 2022:

Source: globalpetrolprices.com

How much does it cost to register a car in France?

To drive in France, you must have a French registration certificate (carte grise), commonly called a gray card. The cost of acquiring this certificate varies depending on your car’s engine power, age, origin, and region. 

To know the full cost of registering your car, sum up the following taxes:

Regional tax

The regional council sets this tax yearly, varying from one region to another. To determine the amount of regional tax you need to pay, multiply the administrative power of your vehicle by the fiscal horse(CV) tax of your region.

If the vehicle is over ten years old, you will only need to pay 50% regional tax; if less, you’ll pay the full rate.

Below is a table showing the cost of regional tax amount in some of the most popular areas in France in 2022: 

RegionRegional tax amount for 1 CV in 2022
Normandy€35
Meeting€51
Mayotte€30
Burgundy-Franche-Comté€51
Brittany€51
Center-Loire Valley€49.80
Hauts-de-France€33
Source: service-public.fr

Pollution tax 

The pollution tax in France varies depending on your vehicle’s carbon monoxide emission rate per kilometer, which is usually indicated on the registration certificate. 

Below is a table showing some of the most common CO2 emission rates and their pollution tax ranges: 

CO2 emission rate per kilometerRising range
Less than 128g€0
128g – 140g€50 – €310
141g – 150g€330 – €983
151g – 160g€1,074 – €2,205
161g – 170g€2,370 – €4,279
171g-180g€4,543- €7,462
Source: industryweek.com

Fixed tax

In France, the fixed tax amount is €11 and is paid together with other taxes during the car registration.

Vocational tax 

The table below shows the amount of vocational tax paid in France depending on the weight of the vehicle:

Total laden weight in tonsAmount of tax
Less than 3.5€34
Between 3.5 and 6 €127
Between 6 and 11€189
More than 11€285
Source: service-public.fr

Example

Let’s say you want to register a new passenger car that uses petrol, has a five-tax horse, weighs around 3.5 tons, and emits 103g of carbon monoxide per kilometer. In this case, your gray card will cost you the following:

  • Vocational Training Tax: €0 
  • Regional tax: 5 x €45.18 = €225.90, round off to €226
  • Tax on polluting vehicles: €0
  • Fixed tax: €11
  • Subtotal: €237
  • Routing charge: €2.76
  • Taxes payable: €239.76

How much do cars cost in France?

The price of vehicles in France depends on age; an average used car costs about €17,180, and a new one is €27,754. Though a used car is cheap, it’s more expensive to maintain since some parts may need regular replacement and repair. 

Nonetheless, you should budget at least €25,000 to buy a new car and about €15,000 for a used vehicle. Below is a cost breakdown of both new and used cars in France:

New car prices

The cost of a new car in France varies depending on the model and size. For instance, a new luxury car like Toyota Corolla costs approximately €20,500, and an average one like a Toyota Yaris is about €11,000. 

Used car prices

Used cars tend to cost more in France compared to other European countries like the UK. An average entry-level old model used car will cost you at least €3,000, and a newer model that’s been used for around three years is €15,000. 

To get an idea of how much your preferred second-hand car will cost you, get a car-buying manual referred to as L’Argus. Here, you’ll find all second-hand car prices, which are adjusted regularly depending on the changes in the market. Also, check our overview of the best used car websites in France.

Below is a graph showing the average cost of used cars in France from 2012 to 2017:

Source: statista.com

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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