Happy teenage driverIf numbers compiled by the Institute of Advanced Motorists are accurate, you better start a successful Internet business as a teenager in the UK if you want to afford your first year of driving. In the guise of the "average" 17-year-old male driving a 2007 ("57-plate" in UK parlance) Kia Picanto economy car, the IAM discovered that a year behind the wheel would run a staggering £11,500 ($17,890 U.S.).

While every single fee but the price of the car was more expensive than those American teens encounter, the insurance premium stood like Everest above the others. Driving lessons were £1,128 ($1,755 U.S.), the driving test was £100 ($156 U.S.), the Picanto rang up at £3,000 ($4,667 U.S.), and road tax and MOT (Ministry of Transport) fees came out to £180 ($280 U.S.). Insurance for Mr. Teen for one year, though, required £7,091 ($12,292 U.S.). That's a year of college – at a pretty good college. And we haven't even got to the inevitable accidents, speed camera tickets and parking infractions.

Said an IAM executive, "When insurance premiums match university tuition fees, innovative thinking is needed." Or perhaps a few years abroad: the average annual cost of insurance for a Ford Ka MkII for a 17-to-20-year-old is a paltry £1,651 ($2,569) by comparison.