March 14, 2021

Insurance Makes Michigan Costliest State for Car Ownership

The average cost of car ownership in the U.S. is highest in Michigan and lowest…

The average cost of car ownership in the U.S. is highest in Michigan and lowest in Alaska, according to a recent study.

The estimates by Move.org, which provides referrals to moving companies and other resources for people who are moving, are based on the average cost of car payments, gas, car insurance and replacement parts across each state.

The average annual cost of car ownership in the U.S. is $5,264.58, Move.org says. In Michigan, the average resident pays $9,304.28 a year for their car, far ahead of second-place Florida at $6,765.22 and third-place Texas at $6,670.51. Delaware ($6,404.80) and Minnesota ($6,317.65) round out the top five.

Alaskans enjoy the lowest yearly cost of car ownership at $3,586.95, followed by West Virginia ($4,166.85), Ohio ($4,235.17), Arkansas ($4,379.89) and Mississippi ($4,461.13).

Michigan’s unwelcome ranking as the most expensive state to own a car is directly related to the cost of insurance. The minimum cost of car insurance in the state is an average $5,740 – more than six times the nationwide average of $882 annually. Florida was second at $2,361 and Kentucky was third at $1,549.

Iowa’s annual average insurance cost of $408 was lowest among the 50 states, followed closely by Wyoming at $410. Notably, the Move.org data showed Wyoming residents drive more than any other Americans – averaging 21,821 miles (35,130 km) a year, some 50% above the national average of 14,813 miles (23,849 km) annually.

Between paying off auto loans and buying replacement parts, the average Texas resident spends $4,145 every year on their car, topping the list.

Michiganians and Texans do get a break on gas prices; on the West Coast, not so much. At the time the survey was conducted the average price of a gallon of gas in California was $3.39, highest in the country and almost exactly a dollar more than the national average of $2.40. Gas prices in Washington and Oregon are relatively high at $2.82 (3rd-highest) and $2.69 (fifth-highest), respectively.

Move.org compiled its rankings by comparing the following data for each state in the U.S.:

  • The average price of gas multiplied by the number of miles driven by the average resident divided by the average miles-per-gallon rating for light-duty vehicles
  • The price of the minimum car insurance required by the state
  • Average expenditures for car payments and replacement parts
  • Title and registration fees

The data doesn’t include costs for repair work done by professional mechanics, nor does it include costs that are unique to owning electric vehicles.