Friday, October 28, 2011

Honolulu Vehicle Registrations -- Taken for a Ride

The increase in the cost for vehicle registrations in Hawaii has been staggering. Although the consumer price index would justify roughly a 40% increase, the cost of registration has increased by 140%!

Councilman Tom Berg has listed all the recent state laws and city ordinances that caused all the increases in vehicle registration fees but it's hard to assess the cumulative effect of them by reading the legalese and the corresponding vehicle weights.

Thankfully, my 1999 Mazda Miata is still around so I can use past receipts for an annual accounting of the changes. The Miata is one of the lightest light duty vehicles out there so it basically represents the minimum registration fee in Hawaii. While we are at it, let's compare the registration increases in 11 years with the corresponding insurance coverage which has remained constant. Of course the value of the Miata has dropped substantially in 11 years, but the biggest portion of car insurance is liability. Despite its age, the Miata can cause the same liability in 2011 as it could in 1999.

Here are the numbers for my car along with Honolulu's Consumer Price Index, or CPI. CPI is an approximation of inflation and it basically says that something that cost $100 in Honolulu in 2000, it would cost $136 in 2011.

I write these while the Occupy movement is in full swing… Occupy gives a perspective of the "poor little guy" versus the "insatiable corporate interests."

Interestingly, the multinational corporate insurance gave little guy me a net 68 percent break in insurance cost in the past 11 years. This despite two claims totaling about $8,000 in damages due to other motorist errors.

On the other hand, the government (that typically proclaims to take care of the little guy) gave me a net 100 percent higher cost for car registration. And thousands of potholes that these fees are supposed to fix.


Anonymous said...

Panos, I thought I was crazy and that, despite devaluation of my vehicle, registration seemed to increase and my insurance remained constant.

So, as a traffic engineer, dare you compare our pot-hole riddled roads here to those in the mainland (which suffers from cold temps, being salted in freezing weather, etc.)? Seems most of what they do here is a temporary repair called a "cold patch" on the mainland and short-lived. Mahalo for all the exposure you give to the dismal condition of the government locally.

Anonymous said...

This article is right on. I just registered my 2002 Honda Civic and it cost $245 dollars. My car is probably not even worth $800. For the life of me, I don't understand why more people are not upset about this. For me, this is almost a day and half's pay, just for the privilege of driving my car to work. Insane. It truly is insane.

Anonymous said...

Yet another Honolulu Reporter scoop. Thanks, Panos, for the numbers and perspective. It's much easier to have a discussion when the facts are at one's fingertips.

You are proving again why the Honolulu Reporter is now our best source for true journalism and accurate analysis.

Anonymous said...

Mahalo Mr. Panos, the crooks in government must have nightmares thinking about what next you will pull out of the hat to expose these public parasites with their pants down doing the nasty behind their own secret closets.

Great job, I got a beat up 1991 Toyota Tercel and registration was over $234 and I hardly use it to drive! It cost far less to register it on the neighbor island and the roads there are much better than here on Oahu.

Speaking about potholes, just wondering which companies are fixing it? Seems like a Fix or Repaired Daily routine a sort of job security measure to milk the taxpayers for all its worth, why do a expert job in road repair like on the mainland when you can take the taxpayers to the cleaners and get away with it?

Politicians and their hacks (public officials) can fix these problems, but why should they when it benefits them financially at your expense and there is practically no remorse or penalty even if caught with their pants down.

Anonymous said...

Received my registration renewal for my 2004 Nissan Pathfinder and nearly fainted to see the cost, $341.00! What is going on with our city? Bad enough they don't even take care of our roads that causes the wear and tear on our cars. It sickens me that there is so many potholes and all they do is patch the holes which don't do any good. IF WE HAVE TO PAY MORE BECAUSE OF THE RAIL THEY SHOULD START FIXING OUR ROADS TOO INSTEAD OF PATCHING THE HOLES. WE ARE PAYING BIG MONEY FOR AUTO FEES. IT SICKENS ME. WE ALL ARE TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING TO SURVIVE. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS !!!

Anonymous said...

Received my vehicle registration today, $341.00 for my 2004 Nissan Pathfinder. I don't understand why these chargers are so outrageous our roads is nothing but potholes. Where is all this money the City is charging us going too? RAIL? Take care of our roads first, it is getting worst. It sickens me, we are trying to make a living but just keep getting slapped with more charges.
The roads is causing more wear and tear on our cars.
What's going on Mr. Mayor...Repave our roads instead of patching it.