15 States Where Used Vehicle Purchases Grew the Most During the Pandemic

Woman holding the key to her new car
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on CoPilot.

Inflation has been the dominant story in the U.S. economy for most of the last year. Year-over-year increases in the Consumer Price Index have reached their highest levels in 40 years, with consumers paying more for expenses from food to housing to energy.

And one of the categories that has consistently seen the highest price increases in this inflationary period is vehicles, both new and used.

While the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic saw lower demand for vehicles as people avoided travel and commuting, the vehicle market has rebounded strongly since the second half of 2020. Pandemic-related concerns and transitions to remote or hybrid work have put a dent in public transit ridership, and instead, more former transit users have opted to buy cars.

Low interest rates, strong government stimulus, and a rebounding economy have given many households the wherewithal to make vehicle purchases. A lingering challenge, however, has been supply. COVID-19 outbreaks over the last two years have disrupted global supply chains, and carmakers have been particularly hard hit.

To determine the states with the biggest increase in used vehicle purchases during COVID-19, researchers at CoPilot calculated the percentage change in total used car spending from 2019 to 2020.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Personal Consumption Expenditures. In the event of a tie, the state with the greater total change in used car spending over the same time period was ranked higher.

Here are the states with the biggest increase in used vehicle purchases during the pandemic.

15. Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +15.4%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$544,100,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $590
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $516

14. Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +15.5%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$396,500,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $601
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $523

13. Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
Rex Lisman / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +15.7%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$51,700,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $522
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $451

12. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Rex Wholster / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +16.3%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$210,900,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $508
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $435

11. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma traffic highways
Gerson Repreza / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +16.4%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$398,400,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $711
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $615

10. South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +17.2%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$92,900,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $708
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $609

9. Maine

Kenneth Sponsler / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +17.5%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$127,200,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $633
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $541

8. Wyoming

Sheridan, Wyoming
Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +18.3%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$60,000,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $665
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $565

7. Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Mark Dahmke / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +18.4%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$254,600,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $847
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $717

6. Iowa

Dubuque, Iowa
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +18.8%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$445,600,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $892
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $753

5. South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +19.1%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$476,200,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $569
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $485

4. Montana

Billings Montana
Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +19.3%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$140,100,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $803
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $681

3. Idaho

Idaho state capital building
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +19.6%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$161,300,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $540
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $462

2. Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
Joe Guetzloff / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +20.6%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$408,400,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $735
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $618

1. Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Anton Foltin / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in used car spending (2019-2020): +22.0%
  • Total change in used car spending (2019-2020): +$719,200,000
  • Used car spending per capita (2020): $537
  • Used car spending per capita (2019): $448

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Personal Consumption Expenditures. To determine the states with the biggest increase in used vehicle purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers calculated the percentage change in total used car spending from 2019 to 2020. In the event of a tie, the state with the greater total change in used car spending over the same time period was ranked higher.

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