Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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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. 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.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2022

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The Lowdown

  • Car registration fees vary significantly by state, making them difficult to compare
  • Some states use a flat fee system, where the price of registration is always the same, while others use different factors like vehicle weight, age, or fuel efficiency
  • There are two types of registration fees: first-time registration fees and renewal fees

When you purchase a car, you’ll need to register it. Whether it’s a brand new, right-off-the-lot car or a 50-year-old classic car, each state requires that you register a vehicle before driving it.

When you register a car for the first time, you’ll receive a license plate. Each plate belongs to the specific vehicle it was registered to and helps the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and local police monitor cars.

Not only do you need to register your car before you can drive it, you also need to register it to obtain auto insurance.

If you’re ready to review car registration fees by state, you can also shop for insurance rates. If you would like to discover what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool.

How much is a vehicle registration fee?

Each state uses a different tax title and license calculator to determine how much you’ll pay for your vehicle.

There are two different fees when you register your car. The first is the initial registration fee, and the second is the renewal fee. Again, renewal fees vary by state.

Additionally, you can purchase vanity plates to support different causes. Vanity plates typically cost more than standard registration.

When you’re ready to register a car, your state might charge a flat fee, or there might be different criteria that make up the cost. Those characteristics can include the weight of your vehicle, its age, and possible fuel efficiency.

Car Registration Fees by State in 2022

It can be challenging to compare registration fees among states because they vary so widely. However, you can compare registration, license plate, and title fees.

StateRegistration feesLicense plate feesTitle feesVehicle License Fee
Alabama$15 to $23, plus $50 annually$23 and $1.25 transfer$18N/A
Alaska$100$5 transfer$15N/A
Arizona$8, plus $32 Public Safety Fee$12 transfer$4 (for new vehicles)$2.80(new vehicles)/$2.89(used vehicles) for each $100 of the assesed value
Arkansas$17 to $30$1 transfer$10Varies by county
California$64 plus extra fees$23$23.65% of value, decreasing over time
ColoradoBased on the vehicle's weight$25$7.203-2.1% of value, based on age
Connecticut$120 for a new registration, $80 to renew for two years$5$25Based on 70% of retail value
Delaware$40N/A$35N/A
Florida$14.50 to $32.50; $225 for new vehicle fee$28 for new plates; $7.35 transfer$75.25 to $85.25 N/A
Georgia$20N/A$18Annual ad valorem tax for vehicles purchased before 2013
HawaiiBased on weight ($12 minimum)$5$5Based on weight
Idaho$45 to $69, depending on vehicle age N/A$14N/A
Illinois$151N/A$150N/A
Indiana$21.35$9.50$15N/A
IowaUp to 1% of list price, depending on age; plus $0.40 per hundred pounds of vehicle weight N/A$25 for replacementN/A
Kansas$39 to $49(depends on county)N/A$10Varies by county
Kentucky$21N/A$645 cents per $100 of value
Louisiana$20 to $82 depending on value$3 transfer$68.50N/A
Maine$35N/A$33Annual excise tax (depends on age of vehicle)
Maryland$135 to $187 (depending on weight) for two years$10 transfer$100N/A
Massachusetts$60 for two years$25 transfer; $10 replacement$75$25 per $1000 of excise value
MichiganBased on vehicle value or weight depending on age$5$15N/A
Minnesota$35 and up, based on vehicle value$8 (double plates)$20.50 (with tax and technology surcharge)N/A
Mississippi$12.75 for renewals, $14 for first time registrationsN/A$9Ad valorem taxes based on vehicle value and county
Missouri$18.75 and up (based on taxable horsepower) plus processing fee of $6 to $12 N/A$8.50N/A
Montana$30.57 to $225.24, based on vehicle age, plus a 3% fee$10.30$10.30N/A
Nebraska$15 plus $5.50 in additional fees$3.30 per plate$10Motor Vehicle Tax based on vehicle value
Nevada$33$8$28.25Governmental 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 plus $15 new registration fee $25N/A
New Jersey$35.50 to $84 based on weight and age of vehicle $6$60 or $85 with a lienN/A
New Mexico$27 to $62 based on weight and age of vehicle N/AIncluded ($5) N/A
New York$26 to $140 (based on weight) for 2 years $25$50N/A
North Carolina$38.75$21.50 to transfer$56Vehicle Property Tax based on value and locality
North Dakota$49 to $274 based on age and weight$5 transfer$5N/A
Ohio$31$6 transfer; $13.25 replacement$15N/A
Oklahoma$96 for a new registration; decreases over time N/A$11 plus $17 transfer fee N/A
Oregon$122 to $152 depending on model year and MPG$24.50, $6 to transfer $98 to $113 depending on model year and MPGN/A
Pennsylvania$39N/A$55N/A
Rhode Island$30 for up to 4000lbs (increases based on weight) plus a $15 surcharge $8$52.50Excise tax based on vehicle value
South Carolina$40N/A$15Annual personal property tax based on vehicle value
South Dakota$36 to $144 based on weight $5 transfer$10N/A
Tennessee$26.50N/A$95 (includes plate fee) N/A
Texas$51.75 plus local fees N/A$28-33 (Varies by CountyN/A
Utah$44 for up to 12k pounds; $69.50 for over 12k pounds plus $19 for each 2k pounds over 14k N/A$6Uniform fee due annually based on vehicle age
Vermont$76 for 1 year; $140 for 2 yearsN/A$35N/A
Virginia$30.75 for less than 4,000 pounds; $35.75 for over 4,000 pounds N/A$15Personal property tax set by localities
Washington$68.25 to $115.25 based on weight $10 per plate$15N/A
Washington D.C.$72 to $155 based on weight $12 transfer$26N/A
West Virginia$51.50$10 replacement$15Personal property tax set by localities
Wisconsin$85$4$164.50 N/A
Wyoming$30+ (varies by county) N/A$15N/A
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As you can see, there is a lot of variation between states. For more information about how much it will cost you to register your car, visit your state’s MVD site.

Some state registration fees are more expensive than others and typically involve additional fees beyond mere registration. The most expensive states to register a car in are listed below:

  • Florida
  • Montana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Oregon
  • Indiana
  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma
  • Connecticut
  • California

Meanwhile, the least expensive state in which to register a car is Arizona. At $8 for registration, Arizona has the most affordable fee; but the Arizona MVD charges an additional fee for public safety.

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Find Insurance After Registering Your Car

The price of your registration and the cost of insurance depends on the state in which you reside. Registration and insurance are linked together since you can’t obtain coverage on your car without registering it.

After you’ve examined car registration by state, you should shop insurance companies for rates. If you’re ready to see what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool today.