As a result, we get a fair number of questions from you about what's it like to drive on the other side, maybe you're going there on a trip. You want to know about the rules of the road what's it like to get a rental car. Where are the good roads? We get a lot of those questions too. We decided it's time to sit down and sort this all out and give you a really good sort of a audio and visual handbook of how this all works and i couldn't think of a better expert from the other side of the atlantic. I hate that phrase. The pond this fast and that's, drew stern and drew is executive producer at roadshow he's also the managing editor of carfection. So he has spent a lot of time out on beautiful roads, not just in the uk. Also here in america and i've spent quite a bit of time driving roads, particularly in england, a little bit in scotland, so we've got some cross pollinating knowledge so drew let's. Start off with the question people like to ask that's kind of fun and it's quite different speed, what's the difference in speed laws. Tell me about the speed limits in the uk um in the uk. We generally have uh 30 miles an hour for urban environments. Your central city, locations and suburban areas, fairly common anywhere with uh street lighting and sidewalks nearby, although there's very much a push to lower that to 20 in a lot of areas, 20 miles an hour yeah, especially in your schools and anywhere where there might be children.
But normally in central london, especially they're, really pushing hard, the london mayor is pushing hard to move the speed limit down to 20., which to be fair, if you're getting 20 miles an hour in central london you're doing okay, it's not going to be that much of A restriction um outside of that it's uh 50 miles an hour for what we call dual carriageway it's, close to the old kind of beltway kind of saying two lanes each way, but still close to built up areas. That'S mainly a noise thing. Then we have a 60 mile, an hour limit that's our national speed limit for country, roads that are single lane, and then it goes up to 70 miles an hour for what we call the motorway so like the freeway or the highway, and those are rigid. They don't change anywhere in the country interesting now here in the u.s. If you're coming over you're going to find a much greater fractured variation as i'm sure you've noticed drew of speed limits, they vary first of all, the top limit. If we want to take it from there, it'll vary by united states state, so in texas, for example, it's famous for having a few stretches of highway, even though they are federal highways that are part of the government system. The national system they're able to set their own speed limits by state and in texas they've got some. I think that are still up to 80 – maybe 85, if i'm not mistaken, they're, obviously legendary, but they're wide open spaces in big country, of course, typically we're known for our 55 mile per hour, speed limit at the highest end, although that increasingly has lots and lots Of exceptions, 55 came back from the days in the 70s when we had the fuel crisis over here due to geopolitics, and so we thought we got to save fuel let's, get everyone's, speed down and it's been an incredible irritant ever since to motor enthusiasts, you know Sami hagar's i can't drive 55 is just one example of the national outrage and when you get down to the smaller roads that are more in town, it's, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40.
45. 50.. Every one of those is possible to see because local towns set those as well, so our takeaway is completely scattered in the u.s. You'Ve got a whole lot more clarity in the uk. If you exceed a speed limit, as i've learned, the hard way, it's very likely you're going to see some flashing lights and that doesn't mean flashing lights from a police car like here in the us, you've got cameras yeah almost exclusively in all of my years of Driving in the uk, i've never been pulled over for speeding. In fact, i don't really know many people who have been pulled over for speeding. It does happen, it's just highly infrequent. We don't deploy police to really do that. They will pull over for dangerous driving, but not so much for speeding the speed cameras. We have are prolific. They are very well spread out over the country, there's generally two different kinds: there's, the straightforward. If you pass this camera at the speed that exceeds the speed limit, it will flash and take a picture of you and then there's a second type, which is an average speed limit camera over a given distance. You may have pylon after pylon after pylon may be separated by a couple of hundred yards each that each have a camera and if you exceed the average, if your average speed between any of those two points exceeds the speed limit, you can get fined. Those are far more common to get caught by um, as you could be inclined to speed and slow down.
When you see a camera, as the position of all of those cameras, is uh that's open information that any sat nav user can can program into their sign over things like waze already come with it, pre programmed for us, so we know exactly where they are they're. Not allowed to be hidden, they have to be painted in bright colors, and you usually get warning signs that they're coming. So if you get caught by them, you've really only got yourself to blame. What a complete difference here in the u.s getting pulled over is just part of the culture you see people almost every day you drive in a populist area, you're going to see people pulled over the side of the road with a police officer and the lights are Going and it's usually a speeding ticket. This is just a common u.s thing, a ticket and we always mean speeding ticket by that so that's a huge difference. There we have some cameras, they're, typically red light cameras in the u.s. They catch. You blowing through a red light at an intersection, that's kind of a different purpose. Uh. I don't think we have any speed averaging technology at all that always amazes me when i'm driving in the uk – and i see the signage that says uh, you know there's a speed averaging camera guess there's a certain icon. They use on a sign that lets. You know that's the kind of cameras you're driving through and i go wow that is so that's like a little bit of ai.
You know i know it's not, but it's computational speed, limit enforcement. We'Re here we're still getting. You know poor cops driving around in the rain in the snow, pulling you over writing a ticket on a paper book. You still sign it with a pen it's like you're, going back to the 50s here, there's a real discipline about passing, or i guess you call it overtaking uh, and the idea that there's, a very clear regimen of this lane, is high speed. This lane is the lowest and you give way to people in the high speed lane when they're coming up behind you uh. Do you agree? You'Ve got a real good discipline there, or do you get also frustrated by people that are hogging or clogging the fast lane? In the uk, i'd only say we have a strong lane discipline compared to the u.s, i think that's, the only country where i would because there's so much of a culture on passing on any given side. Where you just get round traffic. However, you can. There is a very fixed system. The rules are not taught properly in the uk, so there are those drivers who are very um, passionate about the rules that you should always take when we obviously drive on the left, so you should always be in the left. Most lane, which is the number one lane people call it: the slow lane it's not called the slow lane, it's the number one lane and then there's the overtaking lane and the second overtaking lane.
But people call it slow, medium and fast, and so everyone thinks i'm driving fast. So i should be in the fast lane. You get a lot of people who do not understand the system. If everything goes right, it can work, but it is incredibly frustrating the germans are excellent at it. They are yes, they're excellent it's it's. This perfect discipline when you're on the continent, especially in germany, switzerland, you'll, find that there is almost like we're all talking to each other and coordinating this beautiful speed, differential road, ballet yeah, i think it's, because it's it's taught to a certain degree, and especially in germany. If you imagine you're driving on the autobahn – and you think you're going pretty quick doing – maybe 80 or 90 miles an hour, there could be a porsche 911 turbo s coming up behind you doing 160 and that distance is going to close real fast. If you don't need to be in that outside lane, no one wants to be there, because there will be people driving a lot faster. So you learn quite quickly to be disciplined if you're coming over here from the uk or from the continent you're going to find it's completely chaotic in terms of lane speed discipline. There is a fast lane, slow lane mentality, but people plug up the fast lane. All the time doing not just the speed limit but even below it, which is incredibly frustrating and you'll, find people that are passing in our country on the right, which is the slow side of a multi lane, road and it's, just all completely hodgepodge.
So when you come to the us and you're driving, please do not rely on the fact that there's going to be a lot of discipline about those lanes, because you may end up in a situation where you're in either in a panic, slow down or you've got Someone crawling up behind you and you go i'm in the slow lane. What do you want? People will do it's, it's, it's, just poor discipline out here, which i think brings us now to our next subject area, which is licensing and registration uh in the united states. Even we know that getting a driver's license here is about as complicated as you know, tearing a box top off a box of cereal, sending it in with a two dollar check. As we used to say, it's it's, almost it's, almost for idiots uh. Do you feel you've got good licensing regimens there when i took my license – and this is this – is a while ago there were three separate tests that you have to take uh there's, a practical test which in itself is not a given that you'll pass, that i, Like to think of myself as a competent driver – and i failed mine three times i passed on my fourth attempt – really that's got to be a pretty significant test because the practical test we have here, you know you take it when you get your license. The first time when you know 16 is typical here in the u.
s and it's pretty hard to fail. You, everyone knows someone who failed the first time but that's. Usually the person who can't even you know, stir a pot of soup, so we know that they have. You know mechanical, you know, sort of discoordination issues, but then you're not tested again until probably when you're 80, they may bring you in for another practical and in the middle you're. Just taking a test about road laws. Yeah we have. We have a theory test, um that you have to do as well and an additional hazard perception test where um that's a fully digital, interactive film, where you watch where you have to identify hazards that are being shown in this kind of pov film of someone driving You have to identify cars pulled over at the side, someone indicating you have to be able to identify each of those hazards. Those are relatively easy, although i do know people who have failed any of those, but also you have to take your test in a car, either manual or automatic. That will define your license. If you take your test in an automatic car, you are not licensed in the uk to drive a manual car and if you have a manual license, you can drive both, but only if you have taken your test in a manual. Okay, two complete differences there. So we do not have the hazard perceptions test, that's completely new. To me. We have a vision test, but that's, like you, know, reading an eye chart and then that whole licensing by transmission type – nothing like that.
You can march in there take a test in an automatic turn around and go buy a manual car and buck and heave. That thing off the lot and pray for good luck, so that's a huge difference. There let's talk about the license plate and registration world here in the u.s. You register your car again with a state authority kind of like our speed limits are set by each of the 50 states, and you go to your department of motor vehicles. That is part of your state's apparatus for government uh. You guys have something called the mot. Is that right, uh, the mot and the dvla? The dvla is more responsible for vehicle registration, um, that's, that's, more close to our um dmv uh, and they they they regulate. The registration of cars and it's it's. Quite regimented um. The uk registration plates they're uniform across the entire country they don't differ by region there's, a very tight parameter that those license plates have to fall uh within in terms of design. In fact, there's part of that is european union legislation, where you'll find consistency in shape between every single country in the european union in terms of the dimensions and the type of font that's used, that's consistent across all those countries. In fact, we also have a instead of a state indicator that you would have on on uh in the us. We have a small nationality indicator on every number plate where everywhere in europe, you're obliged to have number plates for an aft on on a car.
You can't just have one or the other. There is also an mot test that is a a vehicle uh dependency test after three years of a car's age every year it has to be tested. We call that the mot um you have to have that done every year. It costs about 50 60 pounds and get tested. You get a certificate that only lasts that year, that's. So when we talk about mot that's, what we're referring to, we have that in some american states again not totally consistent, like i'm here in california, a very popular state. Of course, we do not have anything like an mot. You can drive a car till it's falling apart and no one's going to know. Other states do have a safety test. Texas, for example, is a big state in the u.s that does have a safety test program. I don't recall how frequently you have to do it. What we do have that we started here in california was the regular smog test, which we do every other year, at least here in california, and every so every other year that you re register your car you've got to take it into a certified shop where they Verify that it's still meeting emission standards for the year of manufacture of your car that's, a tailpipe test and it's run on a dyno or a rev, the engine up some simple test, and they also do a visual inspection under the hood.
To make sure you haven't removed any equipment, so even if your car is meeting emission standards and it's clean as it needs to be, if you've removed any equipment like a smog pump or anything else, major modifications to an air intake. What have you all of those will flag you, you don't, get registered and it's pretty easy. If you have an aggressively modified car to wind up in this, what we call a referee hell, you have to go to a referee and say: look i brought this car in from england or i imported it from canada. It doesn't have us small gear. I can't put it on, but it's meeting standards – i've tuned it or can i just get a waiver that lets me have this car, but collectors here in california and a few other tightly regulated states have had issues where they will buy a car and they cannot Register it in california, they either have to get rid of the thing or what they do is they register in a nearby state with looser laws? You'Re telling me you can decode quite a bit when you see a uk license plate. What do you see on those? Yes, there's there's, the easy part um. You can tell from the last two digits on a or on the earliest digits on the uh, the car. In what year it was uh registered. So, for the first half of the year for 2020, for example, they will be registered as 20.
. It will say 20 on the number plate and then in the second half of the year it will say 70.. So last year that would have been 19 and then in the second half of the year it would be 69, so the every six month period that refreshes so the time when the car was first registered. You can tell from that when it was so, we can date cars fairly accurately, in addition to that there's, a more secret, hidden code, there's a two letter preface on each number plate that actually refers to the region of the uk where it was registered. There are loads of those, so each individual office, where that can be registered, will have its own code. Therefore, i know there's one in kent, which is gn. So if you're in the one part of kent you'll see more cars that his number plates start with gn that's a bit harder to decode it's a much longer list to memorize. But you can immediately tell from a new car's license plate which six month period, it was registered in well that's great, so there's like a secret story in the first part i didn't know any of that. I didn't know the date. I didn't know the regionality in the u.s it's uh the default plate. Again we have vanities also, but the default plates again they're all issued by states each of the 50 and they are essentially an odometer. So the current sequence in california – because we have so many cars – is a numeral we're currently in the numeral eight and then you've got um three letters and then you've got three numbers and those basically just all keep incrementing across that odometer one more.
Each time until we use up that range and then we click over the far left, digit it'll go to nine one day and then we start doing the odometer again it's a very simple system. As a result, it doesn't tell you much unless you're a license plate. Buff – and you really follow this stuff – and you can say – oh 7srb, that's – probably a given month or year generally, but it doesn't tell you that it suggests that, and only if you're a licensed plate buff, which is a whole different subculture. So our license plates are relatively meaningless, except they tell you what state and, of course we have our stickers. How do you guys update your registration on the plate? Um? Well, until quite recently, your uh that would be done through our road tax and you'd actually get a stamp which everyone would have a plastic holder in their windshield and you'd have to have that updated, and it would sit in your windshield. It would say when it runs out, it's very clear, it's color coded, so any traffic officer could see, oh if it's, green or or purple that might still be in year, but if it's, blue or yellow it's definitely expired. That was the system until a couple years ago, now, it's all digital, all online it's, all in the background registered behind your number plate, and there is nothing visually. You need to update on your car to maintain it as currently registered it's.
All in the cloud. I love you people. I really do that's so much better than what we do. We still use stickers in the upper right corner of a plate. I think that's in any state in the u.s it's a kind of an agreement between the departments of motor vehicles and on some older cars. I'Ve got a 67 mercury out in the garage, and i haven't had it since it was new i've had it since 96 and it's almost a point of pride, where you keep applying each year's sticker on top of the other sticker, to see how tall a stack Of decals you can get, and so someone who's had a car forever. They'Ve got like this quarter inch thick stack of stickers on top of each other. Do you guys hate front plates as much as we do we've? Never not had them um, so it's, not something anyone really thinks of, in fact, to our eyes, seeing a car without one on the front. It should trigger something, because if we see that in the uk that car's probably been stolen or someone's doing something they shouldn't or it's fallen off and we cars are just sold with a holder built in and it can, it can sometimes upset the design of a Car i mean the new bmw 4 series with that gigantic grille. It draws even more attention to it when you put a bright, yellow license plate across the front.
Just draws more attention into that area, but we don't think they're a problem. You could buy yourself. You know a brand new supercar and you just accept that it has to have a front license plate it's, not something that we worry too much about, because everyone has to it's just a universal rule. That'S that's quite different, because uh certainly uh car enthusiasts here really bristle at front plates, and i think part of it is because our plates, as you pointed out, are, are narrow and tall. They look like a loaf of bread for some reason that form factor really just sticks out in a car where i think the wider, lower sleeker ones that you've got you've always had that form factor, and even more so now under eu harmonization, it just seems to Fit with the fact that a car's face is kind of a horizontal place, are your plates always yellow um? Yes, they are. There is a uh. There is in in the uk that's a uk specification in a lot of other countries. They'Re white uh, but pretty much white or yellow, are the only two variants that we have. Okay, so word to the wise: buy a speed, yellow porsche and you know you've automatically got a pretty good blend. Let'S talk about the roads, uh first thing i notice when i'm in your country is so many great small roads and no one is trying to make them wider. Do you realize how many good little roads you have, or you just take it for granted? We definitely take it for granted.
I think there's doing this job. You definitely appreciate a good stretch of road. However, it comes to you and we and we call them our b roads um. We classify our roads. Uh like a roads, are very small rural roads b. Roads are slightly more flowing higher speed, national speed limit roads and then you've got your motorways and and b. Roads are the perfect blend. We do take it for granted frankly, but they are a great opportunity to to because they curve through countryside they're, always undulating they're. Always flowing they always go through great scenery, you're always close to hedges and maybe flint walls. So you get a better perception of speed, um and you know the job that we do. We'Re, always trying to look for new locations, so we're always scouting for uh. Great little driving roads and when we go to the u.s is a lot more freeway huge amount of time spent driving anywhere. Even when you've got a road like the pch it's frustrating to take it, because, if you're trying to get somewhere on there, it takes way longer than actually just taking uh the freeway the same direction, so the they are fewer and far between in the us. It seems we do have a lot of them, but i think when you get a spectacular one like you do in the us they are, they are worth it for their rarity yeah. We do have some very cinematic roads here, uh.
Certainly, in a country this big, we have a lot of different areas to find those kinds of roads, but i think the thing we lack more of and i'm generalizing here everyone's going to be screaming. Wait in my area. You should see some of the little roads, but it's so easy in any part of england or scotland that i've been to, in my let's, say: half a dozen driving trips to find little roads that i think, are i'm thinking of a roads. From your description that are so narrow that if a horse comes the other way, we've got a problem someone's going to have to drive over into the weeds, and i always think i'm on some old roman. You know arm a soldier track here and then they can be robin roads. Actually, that is that's actually very true that we have a lot of roads that are built on the architecture of old, roman road. So that's that's not an impossibility and they are just so great to drive, but for the american if you're going over and you want to drive great little roads, no, they are really little roads, not narrow. Two lane roads, like we think of in the u.s over here that's a big deal and you're gon na, have a real, limited lack of visibility because you might be driving almost down a slot and you're sighted up, but they're fantastic and you you always come across A little village you're, never more than about 10 miles away from another little village somewhere in this interesting network, almost like a neuronal network of all these little towns where america tends to be more linear, we built things up around our highways, and so there isn't, quite As much of a of a scattering of interesting places to go now, uh the other side of the road thing i don't want to spend too much time on this.
Everyone knows we drive on a different side of the road, which means you're. Also, on the other side of the car uh, do you have any philosophy about which is right, um? Well, i have a relatively unique perspective on it in that i'm, british and i was born in britain, but i grew up on the continent so um when i was growing up. People drove on the right, but my mom had an imported vw polo from the uk. So she drove a right hand, drive car on the right and my dad drove on the right. In a left, hand, drive car, so i've seen both i've driven, both i've driven every combination that you can imagine and it gets the point where you get fully ambidextrous about it. So i i feel it's an even playing field to kind of say, which i think is better and although um so the argument could go, you drive on the uh on the right hand, side of the road, so your left hand drive. So you get to shift gear with your right hand. If you drive a manual, your right hand might be stronger. My argument would be it's better to keep your stronger hand on the wheel, so that your left hand is free to deal with small things. The radio, the hvac shifting gear, which you know, requires coordination, but not necessarily strength americans. When you go to england and you rent, a car, realize that a lot of things change you're on the other side of the road you're on the other side of the car uh.
The gear shift is, in your other hand, typically it's, going to be your non dominant hand. Most people are right handed uh. The clutch pedal is now up against the transmission tunnel, whereas usually you're used to the gas pedal being up against the tunnel. So, in terms of where you have the foot resting, that's different and, of course, you've got a door against your right elbow, which is going to feel weird, as opposed to a console there and it's over here. Instead, there's about five or six different sensory inputs, it's, not just what side of the car i'm on and what side of the road i'm on a whole bunch of little inputs, you get about how the car is doing, and how am i interfacing with it are Completely thrown up in the air it's really fatiguing. I find your first day in country and then, like you, say, drew you. You were raised ambidextrous, but i don't think it takes more than maybe a day driving in the other country's mode just to the next morning. When you get up on day, two it's like okay, i got this. It usually feels pretty comfortable, then you're, right about the sensory thing that it is. It just feels weird it's, like a new pair of shoes, um, you have to look out for things for like traffic approaching from different directions. You have to consider your blind spot might be more exposed on the right than it is on the left or left on the right, depending on which way you're going um and or moving from left to right in, in which country those little things you'll get caught Out once or twice um nothing catastrophically, and then you just get used to it and you feel pretty proud of yourself after you, after a week of driving a manual in another country in one of the other countries and by the end of it, you're really fluent And it's, like okay, pretty good, i i can drive a manual and i can drive a manual.
I got it down both ways. I do want to uh finish up our road section here with right turn on red. You guys don't. Do that no it's, something that we're quite involved at a large intersection uh? The idea for us the equivalent would be turning left um on a red light, red lights everywhere in the world. I'Ve, never known a country outside of the us to do this, they're! Never optional they're. Always you stop! There is no way that you that you're breaking the law, if you go through a red light, the idea of being able to you know, make a judgment in that actually it's safe to turn right here and when you think about it on a very large junction That right turn for you, guys is very short, it's very short distance and the car coming from the left would have to travel a long distance and a big open intersection. It kind of makes sense the intersections. We have here much smaller um, so the distance a car would have to travel uh for in our case, from the right as you're turning left is much smaller and if they're approaching at speed that distance would just be. You know, too small to be able to make an accurate judgment. So, although we are very jealous of that fact, i can understand why we don't have it and that's just a sense of scale in the roads. Our roads are too compact for that to be a safe thing to do and there's no ticket coming uh, yeah, it's, interesting uh, you know, and here in the us.
If you want to get into an advanced class of right on red, wait till you get to an intersection where you have two right turn only lanes, and then you get into this whole idea. Can i turn right on red from both, because the one that's on the left among the two right lanes really feels weird, because now you're turning left right out into the middle of the intersection, as opposed to hugging the right hand, corner and that's a whole other Thing but i agree with you: the scale of the roads, i think, has dictated a completely different behavior in how the regulators have set up our country. So now let's turn to the cars um. First, off there's there's, a million things we can talk about about the cars what's available, different models, yada yada, you get the great forwards we get the lesser forwards ah and on and on. I don't want to go into that because we'll be here for days. I want to talk about just a few interesting quirks, one of which is window tint in the us. We have window tint laws, but i'll tell you nobody cares. They go for almost jet black it's, the look these days in most parts of america and they don't care that that's illegally dark. How much is that enforced in your area? Um, we have a rule about it. Number one it's not as popular as it is in the u.s, but it's also less enforced.
So you can have it from the factory inspecting your car to have quite tinted uh windows on the passenger side, on the driver's side and as long as they adhere to the um to that spec. It doesn't go for the windscreen the windscreen they're, far more strict, but on the side windows. Even for the passenger um front and back you can have them pretty dark, um and it's. A very rare thing for anyone to get pulled up on. There is a machine that certain traffic police carry in case. They see someone where it looks dangerous, but it's an incredibly rare occurrence for anyone to get pulled over on it. It'S, just not it's it's, not a bigger deal in the uk, where people don't feel like they need to have that windows tinted. Equally law enforcement doesn't see it so much as a threat to have a car with tinted windows. When you buy a car, a new car in the uh in the uk, are you typically buying it off the lot it's already sitting there, or are you typically ordering and waiting for it? There are occasions where people go and they're able to get a deal with a car off the lot, but you have to remember again: countries are on a smaller scale. Car lots are smaller um. They don't have that kind of half a mile wide store frontage by the side of the freeway. Where you have thousands of cars sitting in stock, you might be pretty surprised when you certainly when you first start started coming here and saw us car dealerships, they're they're.
Amazingly huge they're, like villages, it's it's vast, i mean my first experience of that was in texas. I used to spend a lot of time in texas and it was the size of the flags that they would hang outside and they were so big. Your sense of scale was skewed because everything was just so much bigger. You thought you were closer than you were to it. It was still very far away. We don't have anything like that. So you'll have the largest dealerships will be a fraction of the size or more frequently. People will want to spec their car exactly how they want to and and now especially because a lot more people are buying new cars on payment plans and and on credit, which was less less popular for a while and is now becoming more popular. Those people want exactly the car that they want so it's, far more um useful, using configurators on sites and ordering it. When you buy said car and you take it home, and now you have to insure it here in the u.s. Our insurance will be uh kind of three parts. What part of it insures me for doing anything dumb, that's? What we call liability part of it will insure the car in a crash against damage. We call that collision and then part of it will ensure the car for everything else, damage like faster vandalism or something falls on it. We call that comprehensive and then you also have a portion of your policy that covers other people's uh medical bills.
If you injure them, so we kind of have four components into a typical policy that i get it's my policy. What does your insurance look like? So you can drive a car that's, the lowest entry level, just third party, that only insures other people's property, um and – and we don't necessarily worry as much about the health care costs, because we have nationalized health care that's, not as big an issue um. But you could still be sued for for damages that's covered by third party uh. You drive into someone's house that's covered by third party, your car isn't, their house is uh. Then you get third party fire and theft that's, one step up from that. Where um. If your car catches, fire or it's stolen the name kind of says it all um and then you get comprehensive, comprehensive, just means i'm insured. The car is insured everything in it. Anyone i hit everyone's insured and that's one uh one one policy um, but that only ensures that one person to drive one car – you can have another person added on just for that car. You can't lend your car to someone else. They wouldn't be insured, even though they're insured on their car. If you swapped cars, you would now no longer be insured on either car um it's, very much locked in to who you are what your car is, and the parameters that you've given your insurer about how you use that car that's completely different than here, where, as You probably know i can drive any car.
I can borrow my neighbor's car. I easily can go rent a car, they don't question my insurance. I can go just about do anything in any car and that liability protection that other person's medical injuries, protection that i have that follows with me, so that's a radical difference. People should be aware of that. You have a combination of you're insured with this car, whereas in the u.s they're more decoupled i'm insured with cars generally over here, um speaking of renting cars, where insurance often comes up, i got ta say in renting a car in the u.s is incredibly easy. If you're coming over here, you'll find that we're all about speed of experience in many cases you literally just get off the little bus at the rental lot. You see your name on a board. You walk over to that slot. The keys are already in it and you drive away just waving your license at a guard. Every time i've rented a car in england or scotland it's been painful there's. This long. Looking at all these documents, maybe it's because i'm from another country – but you know it's the u.s and then we go walk around the car. We examine it for all this damage. This never happens in the u.s. Do you find car rental to be tedious on one side or the other there's? A combination of reasons for that one is the insurance reason that you are taking out a temporary insurance policy when you rent a car, because you won't be covered by anything that you already have so there's there's a reason there to be um, insured and because you're Now liable uh on that insurance policy for damage to the car.
You want to make sure that you've inspected it but there's also the fact it's much rarer to rent cars. We don't have the huge um industry of of car rentals that is available in the us. I don't know whether that comes from air travel domestically. Being such a big deal in the us, you're frequently finding yourself in a city and you might need transportation or whether it's also to do with the fact that the public transportation needs in each city might very heavily or might not exist at all and the distances You need to travel are longer and that public transportation just doesn't, fill those needs and therefore car rental um is far more needed and therefore the process had to be sped up we're getting quicker at the drop off part, though that used to be the same. But in reverse, like you'd, walk around it you'd go through all the forms and check everything off now, it's, getting closer to that u.s system where you just drive in check the keys at someone and run and hope you pulled all your bags out of the truck Let'S finish with the thing: everyone loves to gripe about the price of gas: slash petrol, slash fuel um, you have your tax system and we have ours. How does the cost of a gallon of petrol get to whatever the cost is how's? That added up the vast majority of it is, is tax or what we will call duty on the uh on the petrol, the vast majority of it, and, in fact, that duty varies just so that the oil price variance moderates, the Music, the price of petrol.
But it does fluctuate and it does go up at the moment we're paying about one pound 24 and that's per liter. So that's um, i mean the the difference between dollars and pounds fluctuates just as much and the tax rate, so it's it's, not quite apples for uh, plus raffles, plus also uh our. If for us to convert it to gallons, our gallons are different from your gallons yeah, we have different gallons and then the liter to gallon is about four to one. I think um and then you've got a different gallon on top of that yeah we we have. I think it's called an imperial gallon and you have a different gal. I forget which it is so it can fluctuate from being as as as much as twice as much that we pay yeah for our fuel quite easily. It fluctuates just depending on um exchange rates, but it is a lot more and that's relatively consistent across all of europe, but we use less. We travel less distance in our cars. We have traditionally always erred on the sides of smaller, more efficient cars. So, although our fuel costs more, we tend to use less of it, so we have uh two taxes on each gallon of gas. As you mentioned, we pay less. We have a large volume market, um and there's i'm, not even getting into the whole world of how it's subsidized and how the industry works. That'S, someone, else's expertise, but you'll see the price on the pump it's per u.
s gallon. So you just understand that um and of course we are in the miles per gallon mentality here, where you rate cars efficiency on liters per 100 kilometers well on the continent. Yes, so they how many liters used per 100 kilometers traveled um, and that is useful. That is very easy to calculate, and that is a precise number in the uk it's a mess we sell fuel by the liter. We measure our distances in miles and we measure our fuel efficiency by miles per gallon, so we might buy it by the liter, but measure it in miles per gallon. Is that some? I didn't realize that what an absolute uh complete cacophony of figures – the uk is officially a metric country so officially in schools they teach kids metric. But then you go out on the road, all those all the signs are in feet and yards and miles or yards and miles, which is very confusing that never got changed and our fuel is measured in in miles per gallon, even though we buy it by the Liter no one has ever given me a satisfactory answer for why we didn't change when we stopped selling by an imperial unit yeah here in the u.s we buy in gallons, we travel in miles and our cars are rated by miles per gallon. So we have a big advantage there, at least in terms of some degree of cohesion. There is the argument, though, there's a little bit of a difference when you measure uh miles per gallon quantity.
Sorry, distance per quantity versus the other system, that's used on the continent, which is quantity per distance, and i think mathematically that's a little more accurate and it reflects efficiency differently when you look at it after all these decades, and all these generations do people in england And the uk feel fuel is expensive. Yes, i mean we. There was a a kind of a fuel crisis about 10 years ago and and that's when we first kind of jumped past that one pound barrier – and that was a psychological barrier, that when we passed that um, it felt you're now paying one pound per liter of Fuel and that felt like a big, a big leap and then you know now: it's crept up, it's 20 higher 25 higher than it was, then people do feel it's high, but we're also we have – and this is especially true in london. We have an exceptionally competent infrastructure of public transport, um, your buses and the uh, what we call the tube for the the underground, the subway um overground trains. That network is fairly comprehensive and so that, if you live in an urban area and most suburban areas, you can absolutely get by without a car people complain about it. People are more likely to complain about the cost of beer frankly than the cost of fuel. In terms of people who complain about fuel or is the industry is, is uh transportation uh complain about that they they see that as a tax on their industry and those are the people who are most vocal about fuel costs, um tradesmen, people who, for their living Have to drive a lot, not so much yeah, not so much because because everyone else has like you mentioned, everyone else has great transit options.
So if fuel gets too expensive, i've easily got a way to get there some other uh manner and unless you're in new york in the united states in new york city, we just really don't know that kind of transit and in terms of you guys, blowing through The uh, the one pound, uh mental sort of line you know, we've blown through many of those when i was starting driving. Uh gasoline was 35 cents, a gallon which people were complaining about. Then, of course, because you know my dad used to pay 10 and 15 cents we've gone through a dollar a gallon two three we've gone as high as five dollars or close to it. During certain economic times. We swing a whole lot and you can shop for gas in the u.s and find a wide range of pricing, because most of our gas stations here can make their money on the mini. Mart that sells cigarettes and soda and chips, and the gasoline is almost just a way to get you in so it's almost a different industry here, although you have lots of those as well. This is the difference between driving on one side of the atlantic and the other all kinds of cultural, technical, regulatory things it's a fascinating difference. A lot of people go back and forth across the two if you haven't done it before. Hopefully, this will give you some great insights into the many differences that await you, many of which are pleasurable, some of which are downright dastardly.