What are the car registration fees by state?

There are over 276 million vehicles registered in the US. Car registration fees by state differ based on factors such as vehicle weight, and miles per gallon. Oregon residents must consider both factors, which explains why new registrants pay the highest registration fees in the country.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2022

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At a Glance

  • Oregon has the highest car registration fees in the United States for first-time vehicle registrants
  • Additional fees may be associated with a newly registered vehicle, such as an emissions fee or a license plate fee
  • New Hampshire has the lowest vehicle registration fees in the country where residents can enjoy zero vehicle tax

There are many factors that comprise the amount a driver can expect to pay for car registration fees by state. Depending on where you reside, you may end up paying significantly less than other U.S. drivers.

Even if your vehicle registration fees are high, your car insurance rate doesn’t have to be costly. Enter your ZIP code to receive a free car insurance quote today.

How much will my car registration cost?

According to research from Statista, there are over 276 million vehicles registered in the United States. Since California maintains the highest insured vehicle rate, it is concerning to realize that there are still millions of unregistered vehicles in the U.S. If you are registering your vehicle for the first time, you may notice that the fees are higher than what is advertised for drivers with existing registration that merely requires renewal.

Factors That May Impact Car Registration Costs

These factors typically contribute to car registration costs:

  • Vehicle type
  • Vehicle weight
  • Vehicle age
  • Vehcile mileage
  • Vehicle location

Some of these factors, or none at all, may contribute to the car registration rates in your state.

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A Breakdown of Vehicle Registration Fees by State

Every state has its own formula to determine the price that a driver will pay for registration fees. While some charges consist of a flat fee, others require a rate combined with additional smaller associated costs. Many states necessitate several fees based on the age and/or weight of a vehicle which must be taken into account to determine how much registration will cost.

StateCar Registration Cost RangeDuration
Alabama$15-$241 year
Alaska$1002 years
Arizona$40.25+1 year (multi-year available)
Arkansas$17-$301 year
California$62 1 year
ColoradoBased on weight1 year
Connecticut$1202 year
Delaware$401 year
Florida$225 +1 year
Georgia$201 year
Hawaii$571 year
Idaho$45–$691 year
Illinois$1511 year
Indiana$21.35–$30.35 1 year
IowaBased on weight and age1 year
Kansas$42.50–$52.251 year
Kentucky$211 year
Louisiana$20–$822 years
Maine$351 year
Maryland$135–$1872 years
Massachusetts$602 years
MichiganBased on value1 year
Minnesota$351 year
MississippiBased on value1 year
Missouri$24.25–$57.25 1 year
Montana$28–$2171-2 years
Nebraska$20.501 year
Nevada$33 1 year
New Hampshire$31.20+1 year
New Jersey$35-$841 year
New Mexico$27–$621-2 years
New York$26–$1402 years
North Carolina$38.75–$86.251 year
North Dakota$49–$2741 year
Ohio$31.00 Varies
Oklahoma$26–$961 year
Oregon$252-$3122-4 years
Pennsylvania$381 year
Rhode Island$30+ 2 years
South Carolina$402 years
South Dakota$25.20–$1441 year
Tennessee$26.50+1 year
Texas$51.751 year
Utah$441 year
Vermont$76–$1321-2 years
Virginia$30.75–44.751 year (multi-year available)
Washington$30 1 year
West Virginia$51.501 year
Wisconsin$85–$1001 year
Wyoming$30–901 year
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As you can see, three states with the highest registration fees are Maryland, Florida, and Oregon.

How much are vehicle registration fees?

Vehicle registration fees typically vary per state and they have continued to increase these past few years. In addition to escalating costs, new registrants may also find themselves covering new fees for which they didn’t think they would be responsible. Another reason why new registrants typically find themselves paying higher rates than drivers that are only renewing their registration is because of the additional costs that a new driver must be responsible for that an existing driver may have already covered.

Additional Car Registration Fees

Depending on where you live, you may see additional car registration fees on your bill that are listed separately from registration fees.

Emissions Fee

The emissions fee is a cost that refers to air pollution. A formula helps each state calculate the amount of carbon emissions for which each vehicle will be charged.

License Plate Fee

A license plate fee is the amount that a driver pays to receive the license plate for their vehicle. If you are receiving a license plate for the very first time, the price that you are required to pay may differ from what you will pay to renew your license plate.

Title Transfer Fee

If you recently purchased a new vehicle, you may be responsible for paying a title transfer fee. Title transfer fees enable a driver to transfer an existing license plate to a different vehicle.

Clean Air Act Fee

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the Clean Air Act of 1970 can be defined as regulations that limit emissions from industrial and mobile sources, including a requirement to reduce automobile emissions by 90% before 1975. To this day, many states ask drivers to cover the Clean Air Act fee, or a Greenhouse Gas Reduction fee.  

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fee

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction fee was created in 2006 with a mission to make drivers more conscious of the environmental waste commonly associated with driving. Typically this fee is $5, but it can be higher in select states. The money that drivers pay toward the Greenhouse Gas Reduction is deposited into the Clean Air account. This helps the country generate money for greenhouse gas labeling stickers and other initiatives that can benefit the cause.

All of the fees listed above generally have a duration associated with them. While some may only be valid for a year, others can last approximately two years or longer. The duration of these expenses contributes to exactly how much —or how little — you will be expected to pay when it’s time to register your vehicle or have your registration renewed.

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Which state has the highest car registration fees?

Oregon has the highest car registration fees in the United States. In Oregon, passenger car registration fees are classified into three different categories:

  1. Passenger 0-19 MPG – $252 for four years ($126 for two years)
  2. Passenger 20-39 MPG – $272 for four years ($136 for two years)
  3. Passenger 40+ MPG – $312 for four years ($156 for two years)

The state’s vehicle owners can choose between two-year registration or four-year registration. However, in Oregon, first time vehicle registrants must select the four-year registration rate, which ranges between $252-$312. Only after the four-year duration has concluded are they allowed to select a more affordable option. 

Which state has the lowest car registration fees?

Since New Hampshire residents do not have to pay taxes on any vehicle purchases, it has one of the lowest registration fees in the country. Between tax-free vehicles and low levels of congestion, New Hampshire is one of the best places in the United States to own a vehicle. Not to mention, New Hampshire residents typically spend an average of $1,606 per year for insurance. This is over 67% lower than the national average.

An Overview of Vehicle Registration Costs and Expenses

The registration fees associated with your vehicle can depend on the type of car you have, the weight of your vehicle, and most importantly, the location where you will be driving. In places such as Oregon, whether or not you are renewing or registering for the first time can also attribute to how much more or less you may end up having to pay for registration. The state of Oregon is also the only state that categorizes its registration fees based on miles per gallon. These two factors — in addition to the average cost to register a vehicle — contribute heavily to the reason why this state has one of the highest registration rates.

Car registration fees may vary by state, but your auto insurance rate doesn’t have to diversify. Enter your ZIP code to obtain a free auto insurance quote today.

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