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What It Really Costs to be in the Driver's Seat

One of the most liberating feelings as you reach adulthood is having the freedom to drive. As exciting as it is, the money you spend driving can add up faster than you think. It’s important to be mindful of all the expenses (both big and small) that come with driving.


Getting on the Road

The ownership of vehicles is increasing in Cambodia due to rapid economic expansion and rising incomes. According to the annual report from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, registered vehicles have risen 13 per cent in just one year. This has also caused an increase in demand for driving school.


In Cambodia, the average cost for driving lessons for the locals is priced at $70, whereas to foreigners who live in Cambodia at $100. To be able to get on the road, a driving license would cost you KHR 90 000 ($22.03) with an additional cost of KHR 10,000 ($2.45) for an eye test.


**Note: Actual costs can end up higher than prices listed on websites.


Driving on the Road

The fuel prices are relatively high in Cambodia. You will get a litre of petrol for is KHR 3,950 ($0.965), while diesel price is KHR 3400 ($0,83). If you own a midsize car, an average full tank would be around 45 litres. Taking into consideration that your usage is one tank per week, then your monthly expenditure will be around KHR 711,000 ($174.01). Ultimately, your usage decides the consumption threshold of your fuel and its respective spending.


Though there is no strict government enforcement for drivers to purchase road tax and car insurance, you may be required to buy car insurance if you are looking to take out a car loan from a bank. Depending on the age and capacity of your vehicle, the minimum amount you may have to pay for an insurance policy is KHR 215, 512 ($52.50) while the road tax cost would depend on the car you’re driving.

Upkeep and Maintenance

Parking is a big issue in Cambodia. You can park over the empty lots and depending where the place is, it’ll define the amount you’ll have to pay. However, private parking at places such as the Phnom Penh Airport is very expensive. You will be charged from KHR 2000 to KHR 8,210 depending on the duration of parking.


Every car owner is advised to send their car for maintenance after a certain mileage. Maintenance fees will cost you somewhere around KHR 200,000 ($50) per month, whereas a car wash will set you back an average KHR 8,000($2) per wash. These numbers highly depend on the model of your car and can differ from one car to another. These numbers have been accumulated from different forums in Cambodia based on individuals’ experiences.


While owning a car is the easy part, there are always other financial factors to consider. Having a car means bearing a bunch of expenses daily. Hence, it’s good practice to always keep a budget sheet to keep track of your monthly expenses to make sure your finances are always within your control.

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