If you have a car, have you ever sat down and calculated how much it costs you to own that vehicle? If you are in the market for a car, are you looking for an accurate measure on how much you need to budget? Lucky for you, GOBankingRates.com just released a study on the average cost of car ownership.

The Study

GOBankingRates.com, a personal finance website, analyzed the average cost of car ownership in each state and Washington D.C. They did so by surveying and totaling the cost of buying and owning a car for three years in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

However, they did not factor in the sticker price of purchasing or financing a vehicle. Instead, GOBankingRates.com considered the costs of six common factors affecting the expenses of owning a vehicle. Here are the factors they considered:car ownership

  • Car sales tax
  • Title fees
  • Registration fees
  • Annual gas expenses
  • Average annual car insurance premiums
  • Average annual car maintenance and repair costs

The Findings

What did GoBankingRates.com find? U.S. car owners pay an average cost of $11,227 to buy and own a car for three years. Remember, this is without factoring in the sticker price, so that's over $3,700 per year on top of 12 monthly payments.

Also, depending on where you live, the average cost of car ownership can vary by thousands of dollars per year. For example, there's a $7,216 cost difference between buying and owning a car for three years in Michigan (the most expensive state) and New Hampshire (the least expensive state).

Here are the 10 cheapest states to own a car (based on three years of ownership):

  • 10. New Mexico: $9,923.26
  • 9. Maine: $9,866.27
  • 8. Alaska: $9,813.85
  • 7. Oregon: 9,696.00
  • 6. Virginia: $9,602.97
  • 5. Ohio: $9,595.07
  • 4. Wisconsin: $9,570.90
  • 3. North Carolina: $9,447.94
  • 2. Missouri: $9,280.24
  • 1. New Hampshire: $8,098.00

And the 10 most expensive states to own a car (based on three years of ownership):

  • 10. Washington (state): $12,612.92
  • 9. Nevada: $12,695.68
  • 8. Montana: $12,763.74
  • 7. Rhode Island: $12,895.61
  • 6. Maryland: $12,925.76
  • 5. Florida: $13,210.64
  • 4. New Jersey: $13,484.11
  • 3. Washington D.C.: $13,561.06
  • 2. California: $14,451.58
  • 1. Michigan: $15,314.53

The full results and methodology of the study can be found here.

How to Use This Information to Your Advantage

If you are a car owner from one of the least expensive states, consider yourself lucky. If, on the other hand, you are a car owner from one of the more expensive states, you may want to try to find some ways to save on the costs of car ownership. And if you are looking to buy a car and your credit is less than perfect, this information happens to be very useful.

Subprime auto lenders consider every applicant's payment to income (PTI) ratio as a measure of their finances and ability to pay back a loan. They do not want a consumer buying a car with a monthly payment (plus insurance) that exceeds 15-20% of their gross monthly income.

But we now know that there are more expenses that come with car ownership outside of insurance and the monthly payment. You can use the GOBankingRates.com study to help you budget out the rest.

While subprime lenders require that the cost of a monthly payment and insurance does not exceed 20% of your gross monthly income, financial experts recommend that ALL of your auto-related expenses stay around 10-20% of your income. This means that it is on you to account for every expense that comes with owning a car and to make sure that it is a purchase that your finances can handle.

Find Financing Fast

If your credit is keeping you from getting approved for an auto loan, Auto Credit Express can help. We have gathered the nation's largest network of special finance car dealers and we can help you get connected to the resources who can get you approved. Fill out our free and secure online application to get the process started.