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.

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.

Online Dealers:

Tip: Learn how to ship a car from auto trader

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.

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.

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.


You can get a car shipped from Copart, IAA, and other auction shipping from a national auto transport company.

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!

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.