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.