15 States Where People Spend the Most on Cars

Happy car owner
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on CoPilot.

Amid recent concerns about inflation in the economy, the market for new and used vehicles is one of the sectors that has drawn the most attention.

With the global economy still facing ongoing supply chain challenges — particularly a shortage of semiconductor chips needed for computer systems in modern vehicles — fewer new cars are hitting the market, which has raised the demand for pre-owned vehicles. Additionally, rapidly rising gas prices in recent weeks have boosted demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The result has been higher prices for both new and used cars. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the prices for new vehicles rose 12.4% from February 2021 to February 2022, while used cars and trucks saw price increases of 41.2% last year — one of the largest increases of any category in the Consumer Price Index.

The recent spike in vehicle prices stands out in part because the price for cars has otherwise shown a slow rate of growth in recent years. From 1997 to 2020, per capita annual spending on vehicle purchases rose from $930 to $1,399, which averages out to a 1.8% annualized increase — a figure in line with normal levels of inflation.

To identify the states where people are spending the most on cars, researchers at CoPilot calculated total motor vehicle spending per capita in 2020, which includes both new and used vehicle purchases as well as vehicle operation expenses. Vehicle operation includes spending on fuels, lubricants, and fluids; maintenance and repairs; parts and accessories; and other motor vehicle services. The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 2020 Personal Consumption Expenditures.

Here are the states where residents spend the most on motor vehicles.

15. Alaska

RV travel
Viktor Loki / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,563
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,467
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $507
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $661
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $389
  • Other motor vehicle services: $539

14. North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,572
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,765
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $613
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $679
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $290
  • Other motor vehicle services: $227

13. Texas

Dallas Texas
Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,615
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,740
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $781
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $552
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $227
  • Other motor vehicle services: $315

12. Utah

cars in Utah
Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,627
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,698
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $762
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $611
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $321
  • Other motor vehicle services: $235

11. Vermont

Vermont
DonLand / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,632
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,755
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $784
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $668
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $290
  • Other motor vehicle services: $135

10. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma traffic highways
Gerson Repreza / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,654
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,823
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $924
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $408
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $244
  • Other motor vehicle services: $254

9. Minnesota

St Paul Minnesota
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,675
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,687
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $811
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $655
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $312
  • Other motor vehicle services: $210

8. Colorado

Denver Colorado
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,700
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,370
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $714
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $826
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $404
  • Other motor vehicle services: $386

7. Missouri

Kansas City Missouri traffic highways
Real Window Creative / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,779
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,610
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $982
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $625
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $262
  • Other motor vehicle services: $300

6. Maine

Bangor, Maine
jiawangkun / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $3,805
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,690
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $988
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $623
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $282
  • Other motor vehicle services: $223

5. Iowa

Davenport, Iowa
gibbstechsolutions / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $4,015
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,946
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $1,028
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $613
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $290
  • Other motor vehicle services: $138

4. Wyoming

Sheridan, Wyoming
Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $4,068
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,837
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $846
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $695
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $448
  • Other motor vehicle services: $241

3. Montana

Livingston, Montana
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $4,073
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,920
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $829
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $722
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $372
  • Other motor vehicle services: $230

2. Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Victor Wong / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $4,193
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $2,028
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $1,039
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $683
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $268
  • Other motor vehicle services: $175

1. New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com
  • Total motor vehicle spending per capita: $4,195
  • New & used motor vehicle purchases: $1,999
  • Motor vehicle fuels, lubricants & fluids: $828
  • Motor vehicle maintenance & repair: $812
  • Motor vehicle parts & accessories: $239
  • Other motor vehicle services: $317

Methodology

A man studies financial data at his computer
NicoElNino / Shutterstock.com

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 2020 Personal Consumption Expenditures.

To identify the states spending the most on cars, researchers calculated total motor vehicle spending per capita in 2020, which includes both new and used vehicle purchases as well as vehicle operation spending. Vehicle operation spending includes spending on fuels, lubricants, and fluids; maintenance and repairs; parts and accessories; and other motor vehicle services.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.