Breaking Down Title and Car Registration Fees, Taxes, Insurance, and Other Vehicle Expenses

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Getting your car on the road comes with several costs, whether you’re buying a new or used car or restoring an older vehicle. Sales tax, title fees, license and registration fees, inspections, and car insurance are just a few of the costs you most likely have to pay to legally drive your car.

This article can help you understand the various vehicle expenses and what it might cost to register a new or used car in your state.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most states require you to pay sales tax and title and registration fees before you can legally drive your car.
  • Some states require ongoing fees while you own the vehicle, including inspection costs, personal property tax, and auto insurance.
  • Colorado and Hawaii are the most expensive states for registering a car, while Arizona and Mississippi are the cheapest.

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Necessary Costs to Get Your Vehicle on the Road

Two men shake hands in a car dealership

The costs of driving your vehicle legally can vary significantly by state and county. Here are some of the most common costs you’ll need to cover, both when registering your vehicle and throughout its ownership.

Title fees

Title fees are the costs your state charges to change ownership of the motor vehicle from the previous owner (or car dealership) to you. To change ownership, the prior owner must fill out the original title, which you’ll provide to your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV).

You’ll receive a new Certificate of Title as proof of ownership of the car. The DMV uses this fee to process and print the new vehicle title, and it ranges from $4 in Arizona for new cars to $164.50 in Wisconsin.

Registration fees

You’ll need to pay a vehicle registration fee to legally drive on the road and get valid license plates for your car. It’s usually a rolling fee, meaning you pay it annually or biannually for as long as you own the vehicle. It might be a flat fee or based on your vehicle’s age, value, or weight, like in Idaho, Hawaii, and Colorado.

Your state’s DMV will calculate the cost and send you a vehicle registration renewal notice when it’s due.

License plate fees

Some states that allow transferring license plates from one owner to another charge a separate license plate fee. It may be combined with the registration cost or an individual fee. The year, make, weight, and type (passenger car or commercial vehicle) usually factor into the price.

Sales tax

Most states charge sales tax when you buy a car, though the amount can vary by state and whether you buy the vehicle from a private seller or dealership. You may also owe a local sales tax depending on the city or county you live in. State tax rates range from 2% in Alabama to 8.3% in Nevada.

The following states don’t charge sales tax:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon

Personal property tax

Around half of states require residents to pay personal property taxes, also known as an excise tax. The tax is usually due annually and is a flat or percentage fee based on your vehicle’s current value. Most states will send you a bill listing the amount you owe.

Documentation fees

When you buy a car from a dealer, the final cost typically includes a documentation fee. Some states don’t limit how much the dealership charges, while others have a cap or formula dealers must use to calculate the cost. Tennessee is the only state that doesn’t allow documentation fees.

Inspection costs

Some states and localities require vehicle inspections for different reasons, and the cost to have a shop perform the inspection varies. For example, you must pay a $20 inspection fee to get a new title in Kansas. Texans bringing a newly purchased vehicle with an out-of-state title to Texas must pay a $90 fee on top of other registration expenses.

You might also have to take your vehicle for an annual or biannual air quality or safety inspection. Rules and costs can vary by city, county, or state. For instance, Missouri doesn’t require an emissions test, but the city of St. Louis does, and it costs $24.

Hybrid and electric vehicle fees

Although many states offer incentives for buying a hybrid or electric vehicle — like rebates, lower registration fees, and tax credits — others charge extra fees to offset the taxes electric vehicle owners don’t pay at the gas pump. For example, Arkansas drivers pay an annual $100 fee for hybrid vehicles and $200 for electric vehicles, in addition to other car registration costs.

Car insurance premiums

Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to have car insurance to legally drive. Multiple factors determine how much you pay for auto insurance, and rates can vary by ZIP code, vehicle make and model, and more. Personal and household factors, like driver age, claims history, and driving record, also affect your car insurance costs.

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Taxes, Title, Registration Fees, and Other Vehicle Costs by State

The vehicle costs you might have to pay vary significantly from state to state. The table below outlines different fees by state, plus the average annual cost of car insurance in each. Some states charge flat fees, while others charge by the car’s gross weight, value, age, or other factors, like the type of vehicle (light truck, van, SUV, motorcycle, boat, etc.).

State Registration Fee License Plate Fee Title Fee Dealer Documentation Fees Personal Property Tax / Vehicle License Fee State Vehicle Sales Tax Air Quality / Emissions Inspection Average Annual Insurance Cost Other
Alabama $15–$23 + $50 annually $23 and $1.25 transfer $18 No limit N/A 2% N/A $1,418 N/A
Alaska $100 $5 transfer $15 no limit; must be incl. in vehicle price N/A N/A N/A $1,744 $15 lien recording
Arizona $8 + $32 Public Safety Fee $12 transfer $4 (for new vehicles) No limit $2.80 (new vehicles) / $2.89 (used vehicles) for each $100 of the assessed value 5.6% $1.50 $1,997 N/A
Arkansas $17–$30 $1 transfer $10 $129 cap Varies by county 6.5% N/A $1,909 $2.50 decal fee; 50-cent lien filing fee; extra $100 annual fee for registering a hybrid vehicle and $200 for an EV
California $64 plus extra fees like CHP and Transportation Improvement $23 $23 $80 cap 0.65% of value, decreasing over time 7.5% $8 smog transfer fee $1,731 $100 EV fee; $27 CHP fee
Colorado Based on weight $25 $7.20 No limit 3%–2.1% of value, based on age 2.9% $15–$25 emissions test fee $3,141 $50 annual fee for plug-in vehicles
Connecticut $120 for a new registration, $80 to renew for two years $5 $25 No limit Based on 70% of retail value 6.35%–7.75% $10 clean air fee; $40 Emissions Exemption fee $2,030 $10 admin fee; $10 parks fee; $10 lien fee; $15 parks fee; $40 Emissions Exemption fee; $10 Greenhouse Gas fee
Delaware $40 N/A $35 4.25% of purchase price or NADA book value, whichever is greater N/A N/A N/A $3,095 N/A
Florida $14.5–$32.50; $225 for new vehicle fee $28 for new plates; $7.35 transfer $75.25–$85.25 No limit N/A 6% N/A $2,287 N/A
Georgia $20 N/A $18 No limit Annual ad valorem tax for vehicles purchased before 3/12/13 6.6% title ad valorem tax (TAVT); 3% for new Georgia residents $25 emissions inspection in Atlanta area $1,031 $200 annual alternative-fuel fee
Hawaii Based on weight ($12 minimum) $5 $5 No limit Based on weight 4.166% to 4.712% N/A $1,345 $1 beautification fee; 50-cent emblem renewal
Idaho $45–$69, depending on vehicle age N/A $14 No limit N/A 6% of value or purchase price $11 emissions inspection (Kuna and Canyon County) $1,535 $140 annual EV fee; $75 plug-in hybrid fee; $5 VIN inspection
Illinois $151 N/A $150 $300 N/A 6.25% and up N/A $1,261 $251 annual EV fee
Indiana $21.35 $9.50 $15 No limit N/A 7% N/A $1,394 Transportation Infrastructure Improvement Fee of $15; excise tax of $12–$532; $150 EV fee; $50 hybrid fee
Iowa Up to 1% of list price, depending on age; plus $0.40 per hundred pounds of vehicle weight N/A $25 for replacement No limit N/A N/A N/A $1,516 $65 annual EV fee; $32.50 annual plug-in hybrid fee (both rise each year)
Kansas $39–$49 (depends on county) N/A $10 No limit Varies by county 7.5% and up N/A $2,498 $20 inspection fee for new title
Kentucky $21 N/A $6 No limit 45 cents per $100 of value 6% N/A $2,864 $22 lien filing fee
Louisiana $20–$82 depending on value $3 transfer $68.50 $200 cap N/A 4% N/A $1,623 Use taxes set by parish/county
Maine $35 N/A $33 No limit Annual excise tax (depends on age of vehicle) 5.5% N/A $2,721 N/A
Maryland $135–$187 (depending on weight) for two years $10 transfer $100 $300 cap N/A 6% $14 emissions inspection $1,682 $14.50 annual EMS fee
Massachusetts $60 for two years $25 transfer; $10 replacement $75 No limit $25 per $1,000 of excise value 6.25% $35 emissions/inspection fee $3,360
Michigan Based on vehicle value or weight, depending on age $5 $15 $220 cap; can’t exceed 5% of vehicle price N/A 6% N/A $1,880 $135–$235 annual EV fee; $47.50–$117.50 hybrid fee
Minnesota $35 and up, based on vehicle value $8 (double plates) $20.50 (with tax and technology surcharge) $125 N/A 6.5% N/A $1,567 $10 and up wheelage tax; $75 annual EV fee
Mississippi $12.75 for renewals, $14 for first time registrations N/A $9 No limit Ad valorem taxes based on vehicle value and county 5% N/A $1,985 $150 EV fee; $75 hybrid fee
Missouri $18.75 and up (based on taxable horsepower) plus processing fee of $6–$12 N/A $8.50 No limit N/A 4.225% $24 (St. Louis area only) $1,751 $75 annual fee for alt-fuel vehicles; $37.50 for plug-in hybrids
Montana $30.57–$225.24, based on vehicle age, plus a 3% fee $10.30 $10.30 No limit N/A None N/A $1,811 County option tax based on vehicle value; $10 Montana Highway Patrol fee
Nebraska $15 (+ $5.50 in additional fees) $3.30 per plate $10 No limit Motor Vehicle Tax based on vehicle value 5.5% N/A $2,971 $5–$30 motor vehicle fee; $75 alt-fuel fee; $7 lien fee
Nevada $33 $8 $28.25 No limit Governmental Services Tax based on vehicle value 8.1% $50–$79 $1,138 Supplemental Governmental Services Tax based on vehicle value
New Hampshire $31.20 and up based on type and weight plus $10 transfer fee plus local fees $8 + $15 new registration fee $25 No limit N/A none Included in inspection cost $1,931 Local fees based on age and value of vehicle
New Jersey $35.50–$84 based on weight and age of vehicle $6 $60 or $85 with lien No limit N/A 6.625% No charge $1,587 N/A
New Mexico $27–$62 based on weight and age of vehicle N/A Included ($5) No limit N/A 4% $15–$25 (Bernalillo County only) $2,040 N/A
New York $26–$140 (based on weight) for 2 years $25 $50 $75 cap N/A 4% $11–$27 $1,005 Vehicle use tax/MCTD fees (NYC and some counties)
North Carolina $38.75 $21.50 to transfer $56 No limit Vehicle Property Tax based on value and locality Highway use tax of 3% of vehicle value (max. $250 for new) $16.40 for some vehicles/counties $1,466 $130 EVE fee; regional transportation tax in some counties
North Dakota $49–$274 based on age and weight $5 transfer $5 No limit N/A N/A 5% $1,334 N/A
Ohio $31 $6 transfer; $13.25 replacement $15 $250 or 10% of the sales contract price, whichever is less N/A 5.75% No charge $1,839 $100 annual fee for hybrid car; $200 fee for EV; optional $5 permissive tax in some counties
Oklahoma $96 for a new registration; decrease over time N/A $11 plus $17 transfer fee No limit N/A 1.25% N/A $1,628 Excise tax of 3.25% for a new vehicle; for used cars, $20 on the 1st $1,500 of value + 3.25% of the remainder; $10 lien processing fee
Oregon $122–$152 depending on model year and MPG $24.50, $6 to transfer $98–$113 depending on model year and MPG $115–$150 max N/A 0.5% privilege tax on new vehicle purchases $10 in Medford, $21 in Portland $1,677 $110 annual fee for plug-in hybrid vehicles
Pennsylvania $39 N/A $55 $120–$144 N/A 6% (7% for residents of Allegheny County and 8% for Philadelphia residents) Included in inspection cost $1,970 $26 lien fee
Rhode Island $30 for up to 4,000 lb. (increases based on weight) + $15 surcharge $8 $52.50 No limit Excise tax based on vehicle value 7% Included in $55 inspection cost $2,672 N/A
South Carolina $40 N/A $15 No limit Annual personal property tax based on vehicle value 5% Infrastructure Maintenance Fee ($500 max) N/A $1,402 $46–$116 Gross Vehicle Weight Fee; $250 infrastructure fee if transferring registration; $60 biennial hybrid fee; $120 biennial EV fee
South Dakota $36–$144 based on weight $5 transfer $10 No limit N/A 4% N/A $1,504 Wheel tax (varies by county)
Tennessee $26.50 N/A $95 (includes plate fee) N/A N/A 7% $9 $2,207 $100 annual EV fee; wheel tax (varies by county)
Texas $51.75 plus local fees N/A $28–$33 (varies by county If over $150 dealer must notify the state N/A 6.25% on new vehicles Varies by County $2,207 $90 tax when moving vehicle to Texas
Utah $44 for up to 12K lb.; $69.50 for over 12K lb. + $19 for each 2K lb. over 14K N/A $6 No limit Uniform fee due annually based on vehicle age Varies by city Usually $20–$30 $1,646 EV and hybrid fees (increase each year)
Vermont $76 for 1 year; $140 for 2 years N/A $35 No limit N/A 6% Varies by city $1,375 N/A
Virginia $30.75 for less than 4,000 lb.; $35.75 for over 4,000 lb. N/A $15 No limit Personal property tax set by localities 4.15% of sales price, minimum charge $75 $28 max $1,590 $64 annual EV fee
Washington $68.25–$115.25 based on weight $10 per plate $15 $150 N/A Varies by county, plus 0.3% motor vehicle sales/use tax $15 $1,740 $75 hybrid fee, $150 annual EV fee
Washington D.C. $72–$155 based on weight $12 transfer $26 No limit N/A 6%–8% excise tax based on weight. Some vehicles may be exempted. $10 $2,176 N/A
West Virginia $51.50 $10 replacement $15 No limit Personal property tax set by localities 6% titling sales tax on vehicles over $500 N/A $1,576 $200 annual EV fee, $100 plug-in hybrid fee; $10 lien fee
Wisconsin $85 $4 $164.50 No limit N/A 5% No charge $1,202 $10–$30 wheel tax (varies by county); $100 annual EV fee, $75 hybrid fee
Wyoming $30+ (varies by county) N/A $15 No limit N/A 4% N/A $1,444 $200 EV fee

Car Registration Fees FAQs

Still unsure about what registration fees you’ll pay to register a car in your state? Check out the answers to the most common questions about the costs of registering a vehicle below.

Is your car registration tax deductible?

If you itemize your federal tax return, you can usually deduct the part of your car registration fee that is based on your vehicle’s value. Keep in mind that this tax deduction isn’t available in all states. Texas, for example, doesn’t base registration fees on vehicle value, so the cost isn’t tax deductible.

Does it cost more to register an EV?

It can cost more in some states. For instance, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and Wyoming drivers pay an electric vehicle fee of $200 per year. Michigan drivers pay an additional $100 for EVs under 8,000 pounds, while heavier EVs cost $200. Missouri residents pay $37.50 annually for plug-in hybrids.

What happens if you pay your car registration late?

If you renew your car registration late, you might have to pay a state penalty to the local DMV. For example, California drivers pay a percentage of vehicle license fees, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) fee, and a late registration fee of $10 or $15 for late renewals. The cost increases if you’re over 10 days late renewing your registration.

What fees do you have to pay when buying a car from a private party?

It depends — the fees for buying a car from a private party vary by state. For example, Illinois buyers pay a use tax rather than a sales tax. Illinois calculates the use tax depending on the vehicle’s age and value. The use tax is cheaper than buying a new car and paying sales tax.

Do you have to pay any fees when selling a car privately?

If you sell your car for a profit, you’ll pay capital gains tax on the amount you make. For instance, if you buy the vehicle for $1,000, invest $3,000 in repairs, and then sell it for $5,000, you’ll pay taxes on the $1,000 of profit you earned.


Data scientists at analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance quotes from more than 75 partner insurers in order to compile the rates and statistics seen in this article.’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the rates listed in this article have been collected from a combination of real quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. uses these observations to provide readers with insights into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.


  1. California Department of Motor Vehicles, “Penalties,” accessed April 9, 2024.
  2. Illinois Department of Revenue, “Private Party Vehicle Use Tax, accessed April 9, 2024.
  3. National Conference of State Legislators, “State Policies Promoting Hybrid and Electric Vehicles,” accessed April 9, 2024.

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