It's no secret: buying a car is a major investment. Sadly, shoppers often become fixated on the purchase price of a vehicle, forgetting that the cost of ownership includes many other things, like insurance, maintenance, and fuel.
Thankfully, the folks at Bankrate.com have gathered all those figures and compressed them into one simple chart that ranks states according to the cost of car ownership there.
Unfortunately for many of our friends in the Peach State, it costs more to own a car in Georgia than anywhere else in the country. Bankrate attributes that fact to Georgia's high automobile taxes and fees -- the highest in the country.
Also, much of Georgia's population is centered in Atlanta, which lacks a robust mass transit system. (No offense, MARTA.) As a result, folks in that part of the state spend a lot of time commuting across the sprawling city, which not only boosts fuel costs, but drives up insurance rates, too.
All told, the most expensive states for car ownership are:
- Georgia ($4,233)
- California ($3,966)
- Wyoming ($3,938)
- Rhode Island ($3,913)
- Nevada ($3,886)
At the other end of the scale we find Oregon, where the cost of owning a car is over $2,000 cheaper than it is in Georgia. Oregon's average of $2,204 per year is attributable to the lack of state sales tax and the fact that Oregonians drive less than most Americans -- about 16 percent less, in fact -- which brings down fuel costs and insurance.
The five cheapest states for car owners are:
- Oregon ($2,204)
- Alaska ($2,227)
- South Dakota ($2,343)
- Montana ($2,660)
- Indiana ($2,698)
Want to know how your state stacks up? Click here for Bankrate's complete list.