Which States Are Most Expensive To Own A Car In?

March 27th 2016

Laura Donovan

It's no secret that cars are seriously pricey, and a new analysis from financial advice site reveals the cheapest and most expensive states in which to own one.

Most expensive and cheapest states to own a car

The methodology came up with its findings by looking at the core expenses of car ownership (sales tax, title fees, insurance, registration fees, gasoline, and maintenance) and factoring in the average transaction price of $33,543. Not including auto payments, car owners pay a national average of $11,227 to purchase and own a car over the course of three years.

Michigan, California, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Florida were the top five most expensive places to own a car for a three-year period. New Hampshire, Missouri, and North Carolina ranked at the bottom of the list with the lowest costs.

"While Michigan has cheaper gas prices and car repair costs, it also has the highest insurance premiums of any state," writer Elyssa Kirkham wrote. "Michigan drivers pay $1,413 more than the national average (premiums of $2,738 yearly, or $228 a month), and $441 more than the state with the next-highest insurance premiums."

Most and least expensive states to own a car

California's infamously high gas prices "are the main expense driving up the cost of owning a car in this state, with typical costs at $1,895 a year," Kirkham wrote. Vehicle maintenance and insurance costs are also higher in the state. chalked up New Hampshire's cheap car ownership costs to the state's zero sales tax on vehicle purchases, low insurance premiums, and low annual maintenance costs.

The societal cost of cars


Beyond the costs to an individual of owning a car, there's also a major cost to society, as ATTN: reported last year. Cars are six times more expensive than bikes, according to a 2015 study from Sweden's Lund University. The researchers came to this conclusion after accounting for congestion, health effects, road damage, noise, pollution, travel route, and climate change caused by cars.

"The cost-benefit analysis in Copenhagen shows that investments in cycling infrastructure and bike-friendly policies are economically sustainable and give high returns," Lund University's Stefan Gössling said in a statement last year.

Going beyond car costs

Driverless car experts are trying to reinvent our relationship with cars, as they negatively affect the environment and kill tens of thousands of people in the U.S. each year, among other things.

Our relationship with driving will be drastically different in the future, and driverless cars may ultimately become the norm, Jeffrey Miller, an associate professor of engineering practices at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, told ATTN: earlier this year.

When asked if children several decades into the future will say that we were insane to ever drive these cars ourselves, Miller said, "Yeah. I think that kids 40 years from now are going to look back at this like we look back at the Model T driving on dirt and rocky roads going 10 miles an hour."

Model T

Even if we only slightly improve car safety with driverless vehicles, the change will be still be worth it in terms of saving lives and money, Miller added. "Even if we're only improving safety by 5 percent, why in the world would we not want to adopt some kind of technology so that we can save lives and reduce the amount of money spent on bodily harm and so on?" he asked.

Go to for the full story on car expenses.

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