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From repair costs to insurance premiums, owning a car is an expense that goes far beyond the purchase price. As of 2022, it costs $10,728 per year, or $894 per month, to own and operate a new car, according to AAA. This is an increase of 10.99% compared to 2021.
In some parts of the country, owning a car places a greater financial burden on drivers due to the high cost of gas, repairs and car insurance.
To determine which states are the most expensive to own a car, Forbes Advisor analyzed gas prices, car repair costs, car insurance rates and monthly car loan payments for all 50 states. .
Key points to remember
- California and Nevada are the most expensive states to own a car in the United States, followed by Colorado, Florida and Alaska.
- Ohio is the cheapest state to own a car, followed by Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine and New Hampshire.
- Seven of the 10 most expensive states to own a car are located in the Pacific and West, including California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, New Mexico, Washington and Wyoming.
- Six of the 10 cheapest states to own a car are in the Midwest, including Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio.
- Connecticut is the most expensive state for auto repairs (Connecticut residents pay an average of $418.37 for auto repairs related to check engine lighting).
- New York is the most expensive state for comprehensive auto insurance ($4,769 per year).
Top 10 most expensive states to own a car
California No. 1 (tie)
California scores: 100 out of 100
- With the second highest gasoline price ($4.76 per gallon of regular gasoline) and the third highest average auto repair cost ($415.66), California is tied with Nevada as the most expensive state to own a car in the country.
- On average, California drivers also pay the eleventh highest amount for comprehensive auto insurance ($2,462 per year).
No. 1 Nevada (tie)
Nevada score: 100 out of 100
- Nevada is tied with California as the most expensive state to own a car nationally.
- Gasoline prices in Nevada are the third highest in the nation ($4.24 per gallon for regular gasoline).
- Silver State drivers pay the sixth-highest amount, on average, for full-coverage auto insurance ($3,342 per year) and tie with North Dakota drivers for having the tenth payment highest average monthly car loan ($582).
Colorado No. 3
Colorado score: 96.53 out of 100
- Centennial State drivers pay the second highest amount for car repairs related to check engine lighting ($417.14).
- Colorado is also the fifth most expensive state to purchase gasoline ($4.09 per gallon of regular gas) and the tenth most expensive state for comprehensive auto insurance ($2,489 per year).
No. 4 Florida
Florida score: 84.03 out of 100
- Florida drivers pay the second highest amount, on average, for comprehensive auto insurance ($4,326 per year).
No. 5 Alaska
Alaska score: 80.56 out of 100
- Alaskan drivers pay the seventh highest gas price ($3.84 per gallon for regular gas) and have the ninth highest monthly car loan payment ($583 on average).
No. 6 Maryland
Maryland score: 77.08 out of 100
- Maryland is the fifth most expensive state to purchase comprehensive auto insurance ($3,349 per year) and the eleventh most expensive state for auto repairs related to check engine light ($399.07).
Georgia score: 75.69 out of 100
- Georgian drivers pay the fourth highest amount for car repairs ($407.71 on average) and have the eighth highest average monthly car loan payment ($590).
No. 8 New Mexico
New Mexico score: 73.61 out of 100
- Drivers in the Land of Enchantment have the fourth highest average monthly car loan payment in the country ($616).
No. 9 Louisiana
Louisiana score: 71.53 out of 100
- Louisiana ranked third in the nation on two of the metrics we considered: average annual cost of comprehensive auto insurance ($3,629) and average monthly auto loan payment ($627 ).
No. 10 Washington (tie)
Washington’s score: 70.83 out of 100
- Gasoline prices in Washington are the fourth highest in the country ($4.21 per gallon for regular gasoline).
No. 10 Wyoming (tie)
Wyoming score: 70.83 out of 100
- Equality State drivers have the second-highest average monthly car loan payment ($636) and pay the thirteenth-highest amount for car repairs related to check engine lighting (397, $79 on average).
No. 10 Texas (tie)
Texas Note: 70.83 out of 100
- Texas drivers have the highest average monthly auto loan payment in the nation ($662) and pay the eighth highest amount for full-coverage auto insurance ($2,938 per year).
Tips to lower the cost of car ownership
Owning a car comes with expenses that you cannot ignore. You’ll need gas for a gas-powered car, and almost all states require car insurance to drive legally. But there are ways to lower the cost of owning a car.
Reduce gas consumption
You cannot change the price of gas at the pump, but you may be able to use less gas:
- Instead of making multiple trips, consider mapping out the best way to get to all the places you need to go so you’ll drive fewer miles and spend less on gas.
- You may be able to reduce your gas mileage by removing unnecessary weight from your vehicle and reducing the level of air conditioning.
- Take public transportation when possible and save your car for when you really need to drive.
Find out about car insurance costs before buying a vehicle
Of course, the cost of the car is a priority when buying a vehicle, but what about the cost of gas, repairs, maintenance and car insurance? Consider all of these factors so that you don’t find yourself in a financial crisis as soon as you leave the field.
Cars with smaller engines use less gas and there are now plenty of hybrid and electric cars to choose from to reduce your dependence on gas. For repair and maintenance costs, there are various auto sites with reliability reports that include maintenance and repair costs so you know what to expect before you buy.
Perform regular vehicle maintenance
By maintaining your vehicle regularly, you may be able to avoid costly and unexpected repair costs down the road. Check your car’s manual for a maintenance schedule. Routine maintenance often includes:
- Replacement of engine oil and filter, air filter and fuel filter
- Replacement of spark plugs and wires
- Replacement of brake pads and discs
- Tire rotation
- Replacement of belts, hoses and wiper blades
- Engine and brake coolant replacement
- Tire pressure adjustment
- Cleaning the Air Intake System
Review your car insurance coverage
Before you start getting car insurance quotes, think about how much car insurance you need. The level of auto insurance coverage that worked for you a few years ago may not be the best for you today.
For example, you may find that it no longer makes financial sense to have comprehensive and collision damage waiver on an older car. Or you may decide that you don’t need rental reimbursement coverage if your household has an extra car that you could drive if yours needs to be repaired after an accident.
Compare car insurance quotes
Auto insurance rates vary widely from state to state. Maybe you live in New York (the most expensive state for car insurance) or Idaho (the cheapest state for car insurance). No matter where you live, there are ways to get cheap auto insurance rates.
The cost of auto insurance varies greatly from one auto insurance company to another, as they use different formulas to assess risk. Comparing car insurance quotes from multiple insurers is one of the best ways to find cheap car insurance.
Also, ask your car insurance agent for quotes for the vehicle models you’re considering, to see if there’s a big difference in the cost of car insurance.
Consider increasing your auto insurance deductible
If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, ask your insurance company how much you can save by increasing your auto insurance deductible. Drivers who increase their deductibles can save between 7% and 28% per year on average, according to Forbes Advisor analysis.
To determine which states are the most expensive to own a car, Forbes Advisor looked at data from all 50 states across the following metrics:
- Regular fuel cost (25% of score): Data for this metric comes from AAA and was collected on February 24, 2023.
- Average cost to repair a car (25% of score): This metric includes the cost of parts and labor for a car repair related to the check engine light. The data for this metric comes from CarMD and is from 2021.
- Average annual cost of comprehensive auto insurance (25% of score): This measure includes full coverage auto insurance rates based on 100/300/100 liability coverage ($100,000 bodily injury liability per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 property damage), uninsured motorist coverage, and collision and comprehensive insurance with a $500 policy. deductible. We used data from Quadrant Information Services.
- Average monthly car loan payment (25% of score): The data for this metric comes from Experian and is from 2022.
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