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The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Own a Car

A down payment is only the first of many costs associated with car ownership—considering insurance, maintenance and other expenses. A new study from finds it costs an average of $11,227 to buy and own a car over the course of three years, and this amount varies by thousands of dollar from state-to-state.

For example, there’s a $7,216 cost difference between owning a car in Michigan and New Hampshire, according to the study, which considered the costs of six key factors affecting the expenses of owning a vehicle in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Here is a graphic showing the most and least expensive states to own a car:

Car Ownership Costs by State - 2016

Outside of the sticker price of purchasing or financing a new set of wheels, the study evaluated the following expenses to generate its national ranking:

  • Car sales tax
  • Title fees
  • Registration fees
  • Average annual car insurance premiums
  • Annual gas expenses
  • Average car maintenance and repair costs

From most to least expensive, here is the complete state ranking:

[wpdatatable id=2]

Additional Insights:

  • New Hampshire, Oregon, Alaska, and Montana are the only states that don’t levy sales tax on vehicle purchases.
  • Missouri’s average gas price of $1.59 per gallon was the lowest in the nation at the time of the study.
  • These western states claim the highest gas prices in the country at the time of the study: Hawaii, California, Alaska, Nevada, and Washington.
  • 8 of the 10 least expensive states to own a car are coastal states.

View full details of the study here.



About Michael Turner

Forty-something years later, Michael still doesn't' know what he wants to do if he grows up. Raised around cars and trained in diesel mechanics, Michael has owned a successful detail shop, developed and sold software, lead a K-9 SAR team, ridden the dot-com wave as a sales/marketing/PR executive, led digital strategy teams at both large and small agencies, and now this. He digs Jeeps, off-road racing, football, photography, flying, trains, making EDM, cranking metal, PC gaming, and a plethora of other contradictory things.

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