by Ojciec Dyrektora, November 2019
Typical Costs When Purchasing a Vehicle
- Registration Fee: Your state will charge you a certain amount to register your vehicle under your name. Vehicle registration fees are all over the map. Some states have a flat rate, while others base the fee on the weight, age or value of the vehicle. Don’t delay! Many states charge extra fees for late registration. One more thing: You might be able to get a vehicle registration tax deduction.
- License Plate Fee: The license plate cost might be included in your registration, or billed separately. Some states allow you to transfer license plates from your old car to your new one, while others require brand-new plates.
- Title Transfer Fee: This is a legal document showing the owner of a vehicle. When you buy a car, you’ll need to transfer the title from the previous owner or dealer to you.
- Lien Recording Fee: If you have a lien on the car (aka a loan), the DMV may charge you to record that lien on the title.
- Documentation Fee: Auto dealers typically charge their own fees to do all the vehicle-purchase paperwork. Some states place a cap on these fees.
- Sales Tax: Most states charge sales tax on vehicles. Below, we list the state tax rate, although your city or county government may add its own sales tax as well.
- Personal Property Tax: Some states require you to pay an annual tax on the value of your vehicle. We’ll review the vehicle property tax for each state in the table below.
- Emissions/Inspection Fees: States typically require a vehicle to be inspected when you purchase it and may require emissions testing too.
- Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Fees: Because hybrid/EV owners pay few or no fuel taxes, many states charge them extra fees.
Vehicle Registration Fees and Other Costs by State
A few notes: These car registration fees are for passenger cars only; states charge different fees for RVs, trucks, antique cars, etc. The numbers we found are current as of 2019, but it’s smart to check the current numbers with your state department of motor vehicles.