I own a 2006 pretty good Toyota Corolla. I acquired it second-hand about three years ago and it has resulted in a darned good deal. It looks almost as new.
In order to drive through the streets of Panama City to do my things; I have to change a license plate every year, just like the one in the picture. The cost of obtaining this piece metal is:
- Transportation Tax: $26.00
- Certificate of Debt Clearance (Paz y Salvo): $1.00
- Cost of two stickers: $2.00 (One dollar each)
- Total: $29.00
Every year the license plate and stickers change color. The upper side of the metal plate indicates the color code. In 2011, the color was blue. The ribbon is blue and the stickers also have the same color. Last year 2012, the color changed to orange.
One sticker is adhered to the windshield of the automobile and another one is placed on the bottom right hand corner of the license plate. If a cop detects you don’t have these identifiers, your automobile will be detained, sent to a police corral, and you will be fined.
In order to get the clearance for a yearly license plate, your vehicle must be inspected and approved by a government authorized car shop. This inspection has a cost of roughly $12.00. Transit authorities want to make sure you’re driving a safe automobile. I have no problem with that.
In addition to the yearly inspection, the vehicle must be insured by a reputable insurance company. I insured my Toyota Corolla with the National Union Fire Insurance Company which covers damages to third-party property, bodily injuries, and medical costs related to an accident. I paid $121.26 for my car insurance for one year.
Not everybody has to renovate their license plate on the same month. That would create a line too large to handle. Instead you get your new plate on the anniversary when the car was originally sold by the car dealer. In my case, I have to renovate my plate on the month of August of every year. This month is indicated in the small sticker on the license plate. If you look closely at the image above, you will see the letters AGO which means “Agosto“, or August in English.
Summarizing, the cost of driving an automobile in Panama is:
- Municipality of Panama Taxes: $29.00
- Vehicle inspection cost: $12.00
- Yearly car insurance: $121.26
- Total Cost: $162.26
I’m sure you’ll agree with me, this is a real bargain. That’s why our streets are permanently overcrowded with cars and traffic jams (tranques) are our daily nightmare. Good Day.