Californian car ownership

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Thread: Californian car ownership

  1. #1

    Californian car ownership

    Hi everyone,

    Firstly apologies for the slightly off topic post...

    I have a Supra TT here in the UK but am currently contemplating a move to California to study at UC Berkeley for a couple of years. Unfortunately this will mean selling the Supra I think having a car for my time in the US is a must but I have absolutely no idea about car ownership in the US/California/Berkeley area.

    I was wondering if someone could give me the low down on how much a car costs to run in the US? How much insurance is likely to be for someone aged 28 with a clean license? Car wise I guess I'd be looking at something relatively economical - civic, golf, mini or something along those lines..Is there any road tax and if so how much does that cost - does it vary depending on emissions etc? Finally what is the parking situation like? Is it generally easy to get a street parking permit and how much do they usually cost? Any other hidden costs?

    Also when it comes to buying is there anything I should watch out for? Do you guys have the equivilent of HPI checks to look for existing finance/insurance claims/write offs?

    Any help very greatly appreciated!


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  3. #2
    SupraForums Member Bankai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    1) Welcome! UCB is a very nice school

    2) Insurance for a foreigner with no driving record here, I'm not sure how that works. Since you are 28 I am going to guess not expensive at all.

    3) Cvic, Golf, Mini, there is no road tax. If you buy a new sports car, you will get hit with a "Gas guzzler" tax, but you will not have that issue with your car selection

    4) Berkeley and SF in general kinda suck for parking. Street parking is straightforward, usually no meters in Berk but a ton in SF. They take credit card or coin.

    5) Yes we do.

    Having a car is NOT a must in Berkeley/SF, more than likely you will find a friend with a car, or there is a plethora of public transportation at your disposal. You should buy another Supra here and a daily driver lol. Hit up some norcal meats, we aren't too far from you either. Anyways, any questions feel free to PM me.
    Last edited by Bankai; 03-07-2012 at 08:44 AM.
    RIP Jesse "jZ" 4/21/12

  4. #3
    SupraForums Member SUPRASTANGER507mgte's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Hayward, California
    I have to say this, the car ownership in the US is very simple compared to other countries.

    Department of motor vehicles -
    You can get a head start by seeing online driving test study guide. Im sure its available.

    For Berkely/SF area, you really want to stick with a smaller sized car due to narrower and congested roads as well as a lot of stop and go kind of driving.

    Stick with an auto if you can.

    Insurance will depend on your age and driving record.

    You can use your European licence ( I suggest getting a international licence from your country as well) for three months which should give you enough time to take the written test and the driving test. ( both are fairly simple except you will need to get used to the right side of the road).

    I suggest you not buy a car for daily driving which is older than 3 or 4 years old. Buy one from a larger dealer and not from a mom/pop dealers where most will have high mileage cars and try to hide the history.
    Bigger delaers usually have certified cars.

    At this time in the US, its actually more economical to buy a new car since the used car prices are fairly high.

    If you need extra help, your frined in the Norcal Supra section are always willing to help out in person

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