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DRIVING

Spain is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to own a car: study

A recent study has revealed that Spain is one of the ten cheapest countries in Europe to own a car.

Spain is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to own a car: study
Photo: Pixabay.

LeasePlan, a car leasing company from the Netherlands, has evaluated 22 European car markets and has released its ‘2022 Car Cost Index’ study, ranking the countries where it costs the most and the least to own a car.

Comparing markets across the continent, the study took into consideration several factors that determine monthly budgets for car owners, including the cost of fuel, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and even the depreciation of vehicles.

So, how did Spain rank compared to its European neighbours?

The rankings

According to the study, Spain ranked as the seventh cheapest country in Europe to own a car, where the average car owner spends €1,044 on their car per month.

Taking a look around Europe, generally speaking, the costs of having and driving a car were higher in northern Europe than in Eastern Europe, with countries in the southern continent generally somewhere in the middle to the cheaper end of the spectrum, with the exception of Portugal, which placed fourth in the rankings.

Most expensive countries (average price/month)

  • Switzerland (€1,313)
  • Norway (€1,249)
  • Netherlands (€1,166)
  • Portugal (€1,160)
  • Czech Republic (€1,144)
  • Germany (€1,130)
  • Belgium (€1,103)
  • Austria (€1,092)
  • United Kingdom (€1,081)
  • Hungary (€1,077)

Cheapest countries

  • Greece (905)
  • Poland (€927)
  • Romania (€975)
  • Slovakia (€979)
  • France (€999)
  • Ireland (€1,044)
  • Spain (€1,044)

Electric cars

The study also concluded that despite increases in energy prices and the upfront cost of the initial investment, electric car ownership is equal to or cheaper than having a petrol or diesel car.

READ ALSO: Is it worth getting an electric car in Spain?

“Despite the inflation of energy prices, the costs of recharging a battery are still significantly lower for electric cars than for gasoline and diesel cars,” the study stated.

“Fuel costs represent 15 percent of the total cost of ownership of an electric vehicle, while this percentage is between 23 percent and 28 percent for gasoline and diesel costs”, it added. 

“Electric vehicles are the best way to protect drivers from skyrocketing fuel costs,” LeasePlan CEO Tex Gunning said.

“Unfortunately, governments are withdrawing incentives for electric vehicles too soon, even in countries with ambitious zero-emission targets. This attitude of prohibition without a plan will have disastrous consequences for the fight against climate change”. 

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DRIVING

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for parking in Spain?

If you plan on buying or renting a car, haven’t managed to switch over your UK licence yet or you’ve just moved here and are unfamiliar with the rules, here’s everything you need to know about parking in Spain.

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for parking in Spain?

If you’re planning on driving in Spain, it’s important you familiarise yourself with all the rules here, not only when moving, but while parked too. Here’s what all the different coloured lines mean for parking on the street. 

White lines

These are the easiest and simple to understand in Spain and mean that you can park anywhere within the lines, at any time for free.

READ ALSO – Driving in Spain: What changes in 2023?

Blue lines

Parking within blue lines means they are designed for visitors and you must pay to leave your vehicle there. You can make your payment at the nearest parking meter.

Be aware that each region in Spain has different rules on how long you can park your car somewhere without incurring a fine, find out what they are here.

In general, the rules apply Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. Sundays and holidays, there are no restrictions. The schedule can vary in summer though in popular destinations, so always look on the signs and the parking meter to find out.

Green and orange lines

Parking within green and orange lines is reserved for residents of the area who are registered to park in those particular zones.

To obtain a permit to park within the orange and green lines, you must contact your local ayuntamiento or town hall and present the necessary documents such as your padrón certificate, driving licence and evidence you own a vehicle.

It will also be necessary to make a payment to use this service. Once you’re registered you can use both the orange and green zones without any restrictions.

Visitors can also use green and orange parking zones, but there are restrictions in place and they must pay. The price of parking within green or orange lines is always higher than the price of parking within the blue lines and you are only allowed to park for a limited time. 

The duration can vary from region to region, but it’s typically only 2 hours before you’ll have to move your car. You must remember to pay straight away and leave a ticket in your window to prove you’ve done so.

You can park freely within white lines in Spain. Photo: Anatolii Maks / Pixabay
 

Is there a difference between the green lines and the orange ones?

No, there is no difference whatsoever, you can treat them exactly the same. It may depend on the city you’re in. For example, in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville you’ll find more green lines and in Valencia and Alicante you’ll find more orange ones.

Area exclusively for residents  

Some cities also have special exclusive resident zones, these areas are depicted by showing a red circle with an X through it and a light blue background. It will also have either orange or green lines on the street, as well as this sign saying ‘Zona exclusiva de residentes’ (Area exclusively for residents) or ‘área residents‘ (residents’ area).

READ ALSO: How Spain’s new low-emission zones will affect drivers

Loading and unloading zone

These zones are marked with yellow zigzag lines, as well as a dark blue circle outlined in red and with a diagonal red slash through the middle. It is forbidden to park at any time in these areas and they’re only for loading and unloading. The maximum time for this is around 30 minutes. The sign will also indicate any additional rules, but they typically apply from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.

Blue-Orange lines

A dotted blue and orange line indicates one of two situations. It’s either for those visiting a health centre or hospital, where you can park for a maximum of 4 hours or it’s a long-stay area near to a train station for example. You must pay for long-stay parking spots, but they will be at a reduced rate and you can leave your car for up to 12 hours.

Yellow line

A yellow line means that parking is prohibited at all times. They are usually placed in front of garages, the entrance to car parks and areas reserved for service vehicles such as police cars or ambulances.

No parking, except for the library bus. Photo: Daniel Capilla / WikiCommons

A red circle with a blue background and an X through the middle

This sign indicates that stopping and parking are prohibited in this area.

A red circle with a blue background and one diagonal line through the middle

This means that parking is prohibited but you can stop if absolutely necessary for less than 2 minutes when the driver is in the car.

VADO

If you leave the vehicle in the regulated parking area, but do not pay for parking, you will be fined, but if you park in an area labelled VADO, your car will be towed away, as well as having to pay.  

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