Driving is not cheap; there are many costs to think about, particularly early on when you first learn to get out on the roads. Young drivers in the States actually have it very good; it’s not too difficult to afford the whole package, where it runs very quickly into the thousands in the UK.
Costs for lessons, courses and tests are relatively similar in both countries. There are also different systems in place; if you’re in the UK, you can book your practical test here: www.bookyourpracticaltestonline.com. The time it takes to get a full licence can be very different. In the US, while in some states you can drive from the age of 16, it is the law everywhere that you have a year’s driving experience before receiving the full license. In the UK however, there is no maximum learning period, and a driver could theoretically pass their test just weeks after turning 17.
The benefits for those in the UK end here though. Once the test has been passed, things become a whole lot more expensive. The main culprit is insurance. Young drivers in both countries can expect to pay three grand for the premium, but when in native currency, it means that UK drivers will be paying 50-60% more. It doesn’t drop significantly until around the age of 21 either.
Cars can also be more expensive, because in the UK, the MOT test means that older and less well maintained vehicles are taken off the road. In the states, a car can be run into the ground, but UK cars are generally caught before they reach that point.
Fuel is also hugely more expensive in the UK compared with the US. It’s more than twice as expensive, which means even once over the hurdle of the car and the insurance, things can be pricey.
Of course, having said this, there is nothing that compares to the feeling of freedom when you get your license. Driving is expensive, but there are very few who would say that it isn’t worth it.