The Cost of Owning a Car in Sweden [2024 Guide]

The Cost of Owning a Car in Sweden [2024 Guide]

Thinking about buying a car in Sweden? You’re not alone. Many expats find the convenience of having their own vehicle while staying in Sweden. But before you start browsing Blocket (Sweden’s popular online marketplace) for your dream car, there’s one crucial factor to consider: the cost of owning a car in Sweden.

The cost of owning a car in Sweden can vary depending on several factors, including taxes, registration fees, insurance, fuel, repairs, maintenance, parking, and the type of car. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from around 10,000 SEK to 15,000 SEK per year to run a car in Sweden, with fuel prices averaging around 21 SEK for petrol and 25 SEK for diesel.

Unlike my experience back home, where car ownership primarily involves budgeting for fuel and the occasional maintenance cost, Sweden throws in a few unique elements to the mix. We’re talking about car insurance, sweden car tax (based on CO2 emissions), and other fees that can significantly impact your monthly cost of owning a car in Sweden.

This guide will help you understand everything related to car ownership costs in Sweden. We’ll break down fuel prices, discuss how much is car insurance in Sweden, and ensure you’re fully prepared for the financial commitment of Swedish car ownership.

So, buckle up and get ready for a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know!

This article will explain how much it costs to own a vehicle in Sweden and what to expect. Read our guide about buying a car in Sweden.

Car Ownership Cost in Sweden

The cost of owning a car in Sweden can vary significantly depending on the type of vehicle you choose, your driving habits, and location. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from around 10,000 SEK to 15,000 SEK per year to run a car in Sweden.

Here’s a breakdown of what expats and foreigners can expect:

  • Purchasing Price: Buckle up for a sticker shock! Brand new cars in Sweden carry a hefty price tag. A small, fuel-efficient hatchback might set you back around 200,000 SEK (approximately $23,000 USD), while a luxurious SUV can easily climb over 1 million SEK (around $115,000 USD).

Owning a car in Sweden goes beyond the initial purchase. Here’s what you’ll need to factor into your budget:

  • Vehicle Tax (Årsskatt): This annual tax is based on your car’s CO2 emissions. Generally, the cleaner the vehicle, the lower the tax. Diesel-driven vehicles often attract a higher tax compared to gasoline or hybrid options.

  • Car Insurance (Försäkring): Car insurance sweden price varies depending on factors like your driving experience, age, location, and the type of car. Expect to pay more for a powerful sports car than a fuel-efficient passenger car. It’s wise to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance companies to find the best deal.

  • Registration Fees (Registreringsavgift): A one-time fee paid when registering your car. The cost is based on the car’s market value.

Additional Considerations:

  • Fuel Prices: Sweden has relatively high fuel prices compared to some other countries. While electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, gas and diesel remain the dominant fuel choices for many passenger cars. Factor in your expected mileage and fuel efficiency when calculating the total cost of owning a car in Sweden.

  • Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance is crucial for any car, regardless of location. While parts and labor costs might be slightly higher in Sweden, they shouldn’t drastically affect your overall budget if you stay on top of routine maintenance.

By understanding these upfront and ongoing costs, you can make an informed decision about whether owning a car in Sweden aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle needs.

Also, check out this article to learn which cars are the most affordable in Sweden.

Factors That Affect The Cost of Owning a Car in Sweden

The cost of owning a car in Sweden is not a fixed amount and can vary greatly. It is influenced by several factors, including the following:

  • Market value of the car,

  • The cost of fuel (especially for diesel driven vehicles),

  • The vehicle tax imposed by the government

  • Parking fees,

  • Maintenance, and

  • Unexpected costs.

The car insurance Sweden price also plays a significant role, with the insurance company determining the rate based on the type and age of the passenger cars among other factors. Additionally, depreciation and maintenance costs are integral to the overall cost of owning a car in Sweden. Therefore, owning a car in Sweden can be more or less expensive depending on these variables.

1. Market Value of Your Car

new vehicle showroom

When it comes to the cost of owning a car in Sweden, the market value of your car plays a significant role. For instance, if you own a high-end car model with an internal combustion engine, the costs associated with it, such as insurance and taxes, are likely to be higher. On the other hand, electric cars, which typically have a higher market value, can offer lower running costs, making owning a car in Sweden potentially more affordable in the long run. Therefore, the market value of your car can directly impact the overall cost of ownership. It’s important to consider this factor when calculating the potential costs of owning a car in Sweden.

When comparing the cost of owning an electric car versus a fuel car in Sweden, the market value of the vehicle is a key factor to consider. Despite the rise in electricity prices, driving an electric car remains a more economical choice than driving a petrol or diesel car.

  • The cost per 10 km for home charging an electric car ranges from approximately SEK 2.60 in the north to SEK 5.50 in the south.

  • In contrast, petrol and diesel passenger cars cost SEK 15.20 and SEK 13.00 per 10 km, respectively.

It’s important to note that electricity prices have significantly increased in central and southern Sweden while remaining stable in the north.

  • The cost of charging an electric car can vary based on whether you have access to private or public charging stations.

  • Public charging is more expensive, especially in northern Sweden.

2. Fuel

pumping gasoline fuel in car at gas station

Fuel is a significant factor that affects the cost of owning a car in Sweden. In comparison to nearby European countries, fuel costs for gasoline and diesel vehicles are higher in Sweden.

As of March 2024, Sweden ranks third in Europe for fuel prices, with an average price of €1.67 per liter for gasoline and €1.70 per liter for diesel. This is higher than the average prices in neighboring countries such as the following:

  • Norway:

    • Gasoline: 17.90 SEK

    • Diesel: 19.29 SEK

  • Denmark:

    • Gasoline: 17.67 SEK

    • Diesel: 18.60 SEK

  • Finland:

    • Gasoline: 17.79 SEK

    • Diesel: 18.71 SEK

  • Germany:

    • Gasoline: 18.94 SEK

    • Diesel: 19.75 SEK

Sweden’s environmental policies also play a role in these costs. The country’s tax rules and road tax are designed to encourage zero emissions and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This means that passenger cars with lower emissions often have lower taxes, which can affect the monthly cost of owning a car in Sweden.

Fuel-Saving Tips:

While the overall cost of owning a car in Sweden might seem high due to fuel prices, there are ways to save:

  • Drive Efficiently: Maintaining proper tire pressure, avoiding harsh acceleration and braking, and practicing eco-driving techniques can significantly improve fuel efficiency.

  • Consider Fuel Type: Diesel vehicles might offer slightly better fuel economy, but the price difference between gasoline and diesel is often minimal in Sweden.

  • Compare Gas Stations: Prices can vary slightly between stations, so shopping around can help you find the best deals.

3. Vehicle Tax

vehicle tax reminder

Road tax in Sweden is another significant factor affecting the overall cost of owning a car. Unlike a simple fixed fee, Sweden’s road tax is calculated based on several factors, making it more complex than a flat yearly fee.

Here’s a breakdown of how road tax is determined:

  • Vehicle Type: The type of vehicle you own plays a major role. Cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses all have different tax structures.

  • CO2 Emissions: Sweden heavily emphasizes environmental responsibility. Vehicles with lower carbon dioxide emissions enjoy lower road tax rates. This incentivizes ownership of fuel-efficient or electric vehicles.

  • New vs. Used Cars: Generally, newer passenger cars with the latest emission control technology benefit from lower road tax compared to older, more polluting models.


Let’s compare the road tax for two different car types:

  • New, Electric Car: Due to its zero emissions, a new electric car would likely qualify for a minimal or even zero road tax rate.

  • Older Gasoline Car: An older gasoline car with higher emissions would incur a significantly higher road tax compared to the electric car.

Tax Breaks and Reductions for Eco-Friendly Cars:

Sweden’s focus on sustainability is evident in its tax rules for vehicles. The country offers attractive tax breaks and reductions for eco-friendly cars:

  • Electric Vehicles (EVs): As mentioned earlier, EVs often qualify for minimal or zero road tax, making them a much more cost-effective option in the long run.

  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): PHEVs typically benefit from lower tax rates compared to traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles due to their ability to operate on electric power for shorter distances.

Important Note on Company Cars:

Employees who use company cars for private purposes are subject to a different tax system. The benefit value of having a company car is calculated based on factors like the car’s age and the extent of private use. This benefit value is then taxed at a rate that can be as high as 56%.

Congestion tax

Suppose you plan to enter or leave Stockholm by car (including cars registered in Sweden or elsewhere). In that case, you must pay a congestion tax to reduce traffic congestion and improve the environmental situation in the city center. 

The payment system for this tax is automatic and does not require you to pay in advance. The road toll cameras in Stockholm register all vehicles accessing the city center, and a bill is sent to you by the end month.

However, the prices will be dependent on the time you enter or exit central Stockholm. Entering and exiting the city center between 18:30 and 6:29 is free; afterward, you’ll pay between 11 SEK and 35 SEK.

Thinking about buying a car online? Here are the best websites! Best Used Car Websites in Europe in 2024

4. Car Insurance

car insurance form

Understanding the car insurance landscape in Sweden is crucial to managing the cost of owning a car in Sweden. The cost of private car insurance can vary depending on the type of coverage you choose. For example, third-party liability insurance can cost around SEK 3,000 per year, while comprehensive coverage can cost around SEK 10,000 per year. The deductible for car damage can range from SEK 3,000 to 9,000.

Car insurance is mandatory in Sweden for all passenger cars, and plays a significant role in the overall cost of ownership. Knowing the different types of coverage and their implications can help you make informed choices regarding how much is car insurance in Sweden.

Here’s a breakdown of the most common options:

  • Third-Party Liability Insurance (Motor Third-Party Liability Insurance): This is the most basic and legally required coverage in Sweden. It protects you financially if you cause damage to other people, vehicles, or property in an accident. However, it does not cover any repairs to your own car.

  • Third-Party, Fire, and Theft Insurance: This builds upon Third-Party Liability Insurance by offering additional coverage for your own vehicle. It typically includes protection against fire, theft, vandalism, glass breakage, and roadside assistance. In some cases, it might also cover legal expenses, breakdown assistance, damage to electronics, and even broader “all-risk” coverage for unforeseen events.

  • Comprehensive Insurance: This is the most extensive coverage option, combining Third-Party Liability Insurance and Third-Party, Fire and Theft Insurance. Additionally, it covers damage to your own car in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. This can be a valuable option for peace of mind and protection against unexpected repair costs.

New vs. Used Car and Insurance Costs:

The cost of car insurance in Sweden generally varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Car’s Value: New cars typically have higher insurance premiums compared to used cars due to their greater replacement cost.

  • Driver’s Age and Experience: Younger drivers with less experience are statistically considered higher risk and may face higher premiums.

  • Your Location: Congestion charges in certain city centers can be factored into insurance costs in those areas.

  • Your Driving History: A clean driving record with no accidents or claims can lead to lower premiums.

  • The Type of Coverage: As explained above, more comprehensive coverage comes at a higher cost.

Tips for Reducing Insurance Premiums:

Several strategies can help you save on car insurance in Sweden:

  • Increase Your Deductible: A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Choosing a higher deductible lowers your premium, but means you’ll shoulder more cost if you need to make a claim.

  • Shop Around and Compare Rates: Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Get quotes from multiple insurance companies to find the best combination of coverage and price.

  • Maintain a Safe Driving Record: Avoiding accidents and traffic violations can significantly reduce your premiums over time.

  • Consider Usage-Based Insurance: Some insurers offer policies that track your driving habits and reward safe drivers with lower premiums.

  • Take Advantage of Discounts: Many insurance companies offer discounts for things like belonging to a professional organization, having a car with safety features, or insuring multiple vehicles together.

Are you planning to stay in Sweden? Check our article: Living in Norway vs Sweden: Which Is Better?

5. Parking Fees

wireless parking management system

Parking fees are another significant factor that contributes to the cost of owning a car in Sweden. Whether you’re parking your car for private use or for business purposes, understanding the parking regulations and costs can help you manage your expenses and avoid unnecessary fines.

In Sweden, there are several parking rules and restrictions that you need to be aware of:

  • You cannot park for more than 24 hours in the same spot on weekdays.

  • If you don’t see a marked parking lot (indicated by a white “P” on a blue background), you can’t park there.

  • Avoid parking at the door of a building, next to containers, or in double rows.

  • Stay away from preferred streets marked with a yellow rhombus on a white rhombus.

  • Keep a distance of at least 10 meters from crossings, corners, zebra crossings, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian crossings.

Parking Regulations in Sweden

There are also different types of parking signs that indicate various conditions:

  • Free Parking: The simplest sign is a single “P” indicating a free parking spot. These are rare in Sweden.

  • Time-Limited Parking: Some spots allow free parking but have time restrictions. For example, between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and before bank holidays, you can park for a maximum of two hours using a P-Skiva card visible in your vehicle.

  • Paid Parking (Avgift): When you see the word “avgift” (fee) on a sign, parking is not free during specific hours. For instance, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, parking is not free.

If you’re using parking garages, fees are often charged as you leave. On weekdays, the price per hour is usually between SEK 90 and 120. A daily fee (24 hours) in a city garage is typically around SEK 40.

Remember, the Swedish government allows you to deduct input VAT on parking fees incurred during the fiscal year. This can help reduce the monthly cost of owning a car in Sweden.

Finding affordable parking in Stockholm and other major cities can be challenging. However, there are apps and services available that can help you find the best parking spots and compare prices. Always pay attention to the signs to avoid fines and remember that other factors such as the type of cars you own, whether it’s a new or used car, and the type of insurance you have can also affect the cost of owning a car in Sweden.

Also read: Car Leasing in Sweden: A Guide For Expats

6. Unexpected and Importation Costs

auto mechanic working on car engine

When considering the cost of owning a car in Sweden, it’s important to factor in unexpected costs and importation costs if you’re planning to bring a car from another country.

Unexpected costs can arise from various situations, such as mechanical failures, accidents, or regular wear and tear. Here are some common issues car owners in Sweden might face:

  • Engine Problems: Engine repairs can be costly, especially for older cars. The cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand SEK depending on the severity of the problem.

  • Brake System: Replacing brake pads or discs is a common maintenance task. The cost usually ranges from 500 to 2000 SEK per axle.

  • Tire Replacement: Depending on the type and brand, a new set of tires can cost between 2000 and 8000 SEK.

  • Battery Replacement: A new car battery typically costs between 1000 and 3000 SEK.

Remember, regular maintenance can help prevent many of these issues and potentially save you money in the long run.

Importation Costs

If you’re considering importing a car to Sweden, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Check Eligibility: Ensure the vehicle meets Sweden’s safety and environmental standards.

  2. Pay Import Duties and Taxes: This includes customs duty, VAT, and vehicle tax. The exact amount depends on the car’s value, type, age, and CO2 emissions.

  3. Vehicle Inspection: After the car arrives in Sweden, it must pass an inspection by the Swedish Transport Agency before it can be registered.

  4. Registration: Once the car passes the inspection, you can register it. The registration fee is approximately 1000 SEK.

The total cost of importing a car can vary greatly depending on factors such as the car’s value and the shipping costs. It’s recommended to do thorough research and consider all costs before deciding to import a car.

Both unexpected and importation costs can significantly affect the monthly cost of owning a car in Sweden. It’s important to consider these costs along with regular expenses such as car insurance when calculating the total cost of owning a car in Sweden. So, how much is car insurance in Sweden? The cost can vary greatly depending on many factors, including the make and model of your car, your driving history, and where you live.

It’s always a good idea to shop around and compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the best deal. This will help you manage the overall cost of owning a car in Sweden effectively.

Is It Advisable To Buy A Car in Sweden?

Owning a car in Sweden can offer freedom and flexibility, but be prepared for the high cost of ownership. Fuel, insurance (how much is car insurance in sweden), road tax, and maintenance add up quickly. Consider your needs – is a car essential for daily commuting, or just occasional use? Sweden’s excellent public transport and car-sharing options might be sufficient. Carefully weigh the monthly cost of owning a car in sweden against your transportation needs before deciding.

Opinions of Expats Regarding The Cost of Owning a Car in Sweden

Here are some opinions of expats regarding the monthly cost of owning a car in Sweden:

  • Mikaela from Finland: “Coming from Finland, fuel prices were a shock! But at least public transport is decent here. I find a car unnecessary in Stockholm, but maybe essential in smaller towns where buses run less frequently.”

  • David from the US: “Wow, car insurance is crazy expensive in Sweden compared to what I’m used to back home. I miss the freedom of having a car in the States, but with the high cost of ownership here, I’m making do with my bike for short trips and the occasional car rental for weekend getaways.”

  • Marie from France: “I gave up my car after a year. The combination of high fuel costs, car insurance, and that annual vehicle tax based on CO2 emissions was just too much for my budget. The well-connected public transport system works well for me in Stockholm, and for those occasional trips out of the city, car-sharing services are a convenient and affordable option.”

  • Karl from Germany: “I brought a used car with me from Germany. While I had to pay import taxes and get it inspected to meet Swedish regulations, it was still cheaper than buying a new car model here. The key is to find a fuel-efficient car to minimize the vehicle tax burden.”

Related article: What Is It Like To Live in Sweden As An American?

Final Thoughts About The Cost of Car Ownership in Sweden

Owning a car in Sweden can be a convenient way to get around, but it’s important to be aware of the upfront and ongoing costs involved before making a decision. This guide has covered everything you need to know about the cost of owning a car in Sweden, from fuel prices and car insurance (including how much is car insurance in Sweden) to road tax and unexpected expenses.

We’ve also explored the factors that can affect the overall cost, such as the type of car you choose, your driving habits, and where you live. Additionally, we provided a helpful breakdown of the process and costs associated with importing a car to Sweden.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to buy a car in Sweden depends on your individual needs and budget. Consider your transportation needs – is a car essential for daily commuting, or just occasional use? Sweden’s excellent public transport system and car-sharing options might be sufficient for some expats.

We included real-life examples from expats to give you a well-rounded perspective on the monthly cost of owning a car in Sweden.

So, is buying a car in Sweden right for you? Carefully weigh the pros and cons based on the information in this guide. Here are some additional tips:

  • Do your research: Get quotes for car insurance from different companies, compare fuel prices, and factor in parking costs in your area.

  • Consider all the costs: Don’t forget about maintenance, repairs, and potential import fees if you’re bringing a car from another country.

  • Explore alternatives: Depending on your location and lifestyle, public transport, car-sharing services, and bicycles can all be viable options in Sweden.

We hope this guide has been helpful! If you have any questions about the cost of owning a car in Sweden, or if you’d like to share your own experiences, feel free to leave a comment below. We’re always happy to help!

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