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What is the best state to own a car?

Florida now fourth-most expensive state to own, operate new vehicle, per Forbes

Florida is now the fourth-most expensive state to own a new car, according to a new study. WPTV consumer investigator Jessica Bruno speaks to a West Palm Beach auto mechanic to explain how the cost of parts have played a role.

Posted at 2:51 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 14:51:57-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida is now the fourth-most expensive state to own a new car, according to Forbes. On top of that, the number of Americans missing car loan payments is now at its highest rate in a decade, according to credit repair specialists.

«Car parts have gone up substantially over the last year and a half, two years,» Ron Katz, owner of a Midas auto shop in West Palm Beach, said.

Katz told WPTV that’s one of several issues the automobile industry and vehicle owners are facing right now.

«When everybody was paying very high prices the last year or two for cars because of the demand on them, they got a higher loan because of it,» Katz said. «Now what’s happening is, with the economy being the way it is, it’s either putting food on the table or paying a car payment.»

According to Forbes, from repair costs to insurance premiums, it now costs almost $11,000 per year to own and operate a new car. That’s up about 11% from 2021.

$11,000 to own and operate vehicle in Florida

«Consumers are starting to drown in their debt as opposed to being able to kind of float,» Paul Oster, a credit repair specialist with Better Qualified, told WPTV. «We’re in a little bit of trouble.»

Oster said, in these inflationary times, the number of Americans missing their monthly car loan payment is now at its highest rate in a decade.

He said that’s partially because supply chain issues are still driving up the price of a new car and car parts.

«Unfortunately, we’ve seen this before and auto payments, specifically delinquent auto payments, are usually one of the first shoes to drop,» Oster said.

Oster said if consumers are missing these loan payments consistently, they should be focusing on their budget.

«Update, or please, if you don’t have a household budget, now is the time to put one into place,» Oster said.

Also, Oster said consumers should work toward paying off their credit cards with higher interest rates now to start digging themselves out of debt.

«Consumers cannot just sit back and hope for the best, because if they’re not proactive, it’s going to be much harder for them to get out of this,» Oster said.

Especially during a time when goods and services, like car maintenance, according to Katz, aren’t getting any cheaper.

«A brake job, as an example, used to be, say, $150,» Katz said. «Now, it’s almost $250 for the same brake job, because you can’t get the parts.»

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Buying a Car Out of State: What You Should Know

Will Crossing State Lines Get You a Deal in Today’s Market?

By Julie Blackley

Used car prices are up and inventory is down in the wake of the microchip shortage. Broadening your search radius is a smart way to help you find the car you want at a reasonable price in today’s market. And given that car prices vary geographically , you may find yourself wanting to cross state lines even when the car buying landscape starts to stabilize.

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How do you buy a car out of state, and is it worth the hassle? We have the important answers to help you navigate the process of purchasing a car in a different state from a dealer or private seller.

Why Should You Consider Buying a Car Out of State?

Similar to used car pricing , new-vehicle pricing may also vary across state lines . Manufacturer incentives can vary regionally, so you may find a better new car deal in a different state . Additionally, if you want a specific in-demand model or trim, it may only be in stock in another state. The same goes for classic or antique cars.

Just as pricing can vary by state, some cars are in higher supply in different states . For example, some electric vehicles are only released in certain states that have adopted a Zero- Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program. There may also be a higher inventory of used hybrids and electric vehicles in these states, increasing the likelihood of finding a good deal.

Vehicle popularity can also vary from one state to another. For example, four-wheel drive isn’t necessary in Southern states with temperate climates, so you may find a better deal on an all-weather vehicle in one of those states compared to the Northeast. Conversely, you may be able to find a better deal on a convertible in a state with a harsher climate, as they are in lower demand.

Lastly, buying a car from a neighboring state presents fewer obstacles than buying one across the country. When determining vehicle savings, be sure to take travel and lodging costs into account. Also, you may get to the dealership and realize the car isn’t for you after inspecting it. If you are travelling a great distance to look at a used car, make sure you do your diligence to ensure it’s worth the trip.

How to Buy a Car Out of State

Now that we’ve covered why it can make sense to buy a car out of state , here are the important steps you should follow:

Get a Vehicle History Report

If you’re buying a used car , you should always ask for a vehicle history report , whether buying in your home state or across a state line . A history report such as CARFAX or AutoCheck will detail information about the previous owner and any problems the car had (such as accidents, recalls, etc.) while in the other state. It will also provide the correct odometer reading . Understanding a used vehicle ’s history will help shoppers determine the condition of the vehicle when deciding if it’s a smart purchase.

Online research tools like the iSeeCars free VIN check can provide a free CARFAX or AutoCheck report as part of its comprehensive VIN check tool. The iSeeCars VIN check report will supplement the vehicle history report with additional, important information a shopper should know before making a used car purchase . Simply enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the iSeeCars VIN check tool to access the comprehensive analysis.

Get a Vehicle Inspection

As part of the inspection, you should ask if it meets the emissions standards of your home state . Be aware that some states have stricter emissions requirements than others.

Pay the Correct Sales Tax

If you buy a car from a dealer in a different state , the dealer will typically collect your sales tax and send it to your state’s tax collector. Dealers likely collect the amount required for the state of the dealership , so you will have to pay the difference if your home state ’s taxes are higher. When the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state registers your new vehicle , they will likely check the bill of sale to make sure you paid the correct sales tax . Make sure you have your bill of sale when you register at your local DMV . Keep in mind that sales tax is collected for the state of residence , so buying a car in a state with a lower sales tax won’t provide you with tax savings.

How to Drive the Car Home

The dealer or seller will sign the title over to you and give you a temporary registration tag so you can drive the vehicle to your home state . If you buy from a private party , you’ll receive a signed title and a bill of sale that proves that you are the current owner. Because you won’t have a license plate on the car, you could be stopped by law enforcement on the way home. Show them your ID, and the title and bill of sale for the car. Some states will allow you to drive an unregistered car for a few days with a temporary trip permit, which will cover you until you can get the car registered. Be sure to check the rules in your state to determine the best course of action.

Get a State Inspection

In most states, an emissions test or smog test is required in order to get a car registered. You may have to do odometer and safety testing as well. Be sure to check your state DMV website to see what is required.

Register the Car

You will have a certain number of days to register the car at your local DMV . Upon registration, you will receive a license plate and a new title in your home state . In order to get your car registered, you will need the out-of-state title, proper identification, proof of address, and proof of insurance .

If the vehicle has a salvage title or another branded title , make sure you understand your state’s requirements before you finalize the vehicle purchase .

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Get Car Insurance

Make sure the car is insured. Never attempt to drive the out-of-state car home without first calling your insurance company and having it insured. Accidents do happen and you don’t want to take the chance of being uncovered. Generally speaking, it will just be a matter of providing your insurance agent with the car’s year, make, model and VIN (vehicle identification number). The whole process takes minutes and can be handled while you’re at the dealership, waiting for the sales paperwork to be processed.

Some insurance companies cover new vehicle purchases for a grace period before you add the car to your policy. However, if you’re financing the vehicle, your lender may require you to have specific insurance coverage in place before the loan can be issued. And some states will require dealers to verify vehicle insurance as part of the purchase process.

Bottom Line:

Buying a new or used vehicle is a complicated process, and buying a vehicle in a different state can add another layer of complication. However, it can be worth the savings if you’re willing to take the extra steps.

More from iSeeCars:

  • How to Buy a Used Car
  • How Many Miles Should a Used Car Have?
  • How to Negotiate the Best Car Price

Cheapest State to Buy a Car

If it’s time to buy a new or used vehicle, saving money is the name of the game. So if you have begun your search for the best deal in the country, you’ll notice some of the best deals may not be where you live. And thanks to how easy it is to ship a car to another state can be, you can get the right deal from anywhere in the country.

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Remember, the cost to own a vehicle in some states will be higher. And statewide sales tax as well as auto insurance costs apply to where you live, not where you are buying from. So for example, if you live in California, Nevada, or Louisiana, there will be plenty of additional fees regardless of where you got the car from.

However, as far as price tag goes, there are several states that offer cheaper options for buying cars. It’s good to know where you can save money upfront during the car buying process.

Why Buying a Car Out of State is Beneficial

During the car buying process, you may often notice the same model at a lower sales price in a different state than the one where your local car dealer is selling it. This is because a certain vehicle may be in more demand in one location over another.

For example convertibles and sports cars are hot commodities in sunny and dry locations with smooth roads. Alternatively, SUV’s and Trucks will be the vehicle of choice in places with bad weather, snow, and rough roads.

There are times certain locations overestimate their ability to sell a certain car and need to unload inventory of new vehicles or used vehicles. So it’s evident that expanding your search to another state is highly beneficial.

You are certainly going to discover the same model at a lower sales price if you can do a nationwide search.

Where to Look When Buying a car Out Of State

There are various places you can search for the best value for your next vehicle purchase. Here we will go over some of most popular car buying websites.

Buying a Car Out of The Cheapest State — Considerations

Registering Your Vehicle — In most states, a temporary registration can be used to drive or transport your vehicle to a new state. However, even though most temporary registrations are 30 days.

Car Sales Tax

You will notice when you buy from another state, car sales tax is not normally collected. That’s because sales tax for a motor vehicle is paid in the state that you will register in. Most states will have non-resident affidavit where the customer signed and is exempted from paying tax in the state vehicle purchases occur if the car will be registered there. Be sure to know what your state tax rate is. Generally, a 2% difference in sales tax won’t do much damage. But if you are counting pennies, then it does. That is of course unless

Registration fees

As with tax, registration fees are charged in the state you live in. So, if in search for a state with the lowest car sales tax and lowest registration fees, you will not be able to take advantage of that when buying a new car. Contact your local DMV or registration office so you don’t get hit with unexpected fees.


Some states like Florida do not have emission checks. Then you have a state like California with the most stringent emissions restrictions in the country. Most states abide to Federal emissions standards. However some states have additional regulations (or will have soon).

Initial Car Buying Fees

It’s important to know that dealers in particular have fees. So if you have relatively low unexpected fees

It’s usually something to worry about in most states, but it’s always good to ask your local DMV and be sure. But if you reside in California, it will be best to buy a car that has the California Emissions Certification. It’s usually something to worry about in most states, but it’s always good to ask your local DMV and be sure.

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Transporting Your New Car

It’s important to consider shipping costs when finding the cheapest state to buy a car. Many times, you will notice that the cost to ship can dig in to your savings if shipping from too far away or if on an expensive route. So it’s always important to get a car shipping quote so you know where you stand.

The Cheapest State to Buy a Car May Depend On The Type of Vehicle

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the need of those living in a certain state may make vehicles cheaper or more expensive. Private sellers in markets with little demand for a type of vehicle may struggle looking for buyers. However, you can target those sellers and tell them you will have it shipped.

When it comes to new cars this can also be to your advantage. Although the MSRP or sticker price is set by the manufacturer and the same across the nation, the price that a dealer is willing to let a new car leave the lot can vary. For example, it can depend on a lot on how long the car has been sitting on the lot or what customers are consistently willing to pay in a certain area.

Consult KBB to see what the national average vehicle costs are for what a car will sell for. You can then look for deals with the lowest initial car prices.

Luxury Cars and Sports Cars

If looking for a luxury car or sporty vehicle, you want to see who sells the most. Florida for example is a place where many come to buy luxury cars and sports cars because so many are for sale above the national average of inventory the luxury car average sales price in Florida is the lowest putting the state at the top of the market for great deals. You can use this list for sports cars, for example.

A private seller my be struggling to sell a sports car in the least popular states. Especially if they don’t want do worry about shipping.


If SUVs are you car of choice, you can see what states have the most SUV owners. That can help you focus on where to look for something new. Again, a private seller my have a hard time selling an SUV locally in low demand locations and a dealer in a popular SUV state may have tons to choose from.

Massachusetts is the cheapest state to buy a new SUV. New Mexico would be the cheapest to buy an SUV from a private seller.


Looking for a sedan? California sells more sedans than anyone but shipping costs may be sky high. Florida also some in for a great place as 43.9% and if shipping in the Winter, costs are low. With so much inventory of new and used sedans, again Florida is the cheapest state to buy a sedan new or used.


If you are looking for a truck, you can check for a dealership in a state that has the most amount of trucks for sale. A list of percentages of trucks per state like this one would be a great tool to use. A private seller my be struggling to sell a truck in the least popular. For states where people drive a lot of trucks, there may be lots of inventory to pick from and deals from new car dealers.

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West Virginia is the cheapest state to buy a truck from a dealer. Connecticut is the cheapest state to buy used trucks.


Minivans are pretty flat across various states. Ownership rages from 2-3% throughout the country. So there’s no real place to focus on the search for a minivan.

Ownership Percentages

See a complete list from compiled from vehicles types sold from all states at We are picking the states with highest ownership numbers for a particular vehicle as the best dealer states and the ones with the lowest sales for a vehicle type as the cheapest to buy from private sellers.

The Cheapest State to Buy a Car AND Own It

Keep in mind, other articles talking about this simply mention a list like this. But they don’t mention you pay taxes and registration in your home state as we talked about earlier. So to be accurate, then the list below applies for those willing to buy and live in the cheapest states.

Now, we can’t imagine moving to another state just so save some money on buying a car, however if you want to know if you states is in the running to buy and register a car, then here you go.

The Winner : Oregon

Oregon is the cheapest state to buy a car. This is because registration fees are some of the lowest in the country and sales tax does not exist. Furthermore, insurance premiums are very low. It is also the number one state because in comparison to others that are the cheapest states, it would be the most desirable to live in. The most recent data collected as of 2021 shows Oregon is the 8th most popular state to move to.

But if cost numbers are your concern then it’s a tie between, Alaska, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Montana as well thanks to affordable car insurance rates and low registration fees.

Runner Up: North Carolina

The tax rate is low, at only 3%, The cost of a vehicle registration and title are very reasonable. Affordable auto insurance premiums are a contributor. Maintenance and upkeep expenses are within reason.

A Cheap Way to Buy a Car Anywhere — Auctions

Car auctions aren’t just full of wrecked cars and beaters. In fact, not only are some cars open to being purchased by the public, you can hire an auto auction broker to that will bid for you for a flat fee. Most charge just 500 dollars.

You of course have to do plenty of research on what you are buying and if possible try to visit the car at the auction and have a look-see. But there are many cars that are simply bank reposition, dealer inventory from defunct dealerships, or just overstock of vehicles.

  • Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA)
  • Manheim Auctions
  • Police Auctions

Other Ways to Save

There are of course other ways you can try:

Sort By Price

You can focus your search on the cheapest states, however there’s one easy way to look at what the lowest price is for the car you want. Go to website like Car Gurus, find your desired make and model, and sort by price low to high. .

Phone a Friend

Maybe someone you know is selling a car. You can ask them if they will give you a buddy discount. As around if anyone is looking to sell a car you may want. Best way to buy a car without any unexpected fees is through a buddy!

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