What are the car registration fees by state?

The car registration fees by state are wildly different. Arizona charges the lowest car registration fee ($8), but states like Florida, Montana, and North Dakota’s car registration fees surpass $200 in some circumstances. States use different metrics to set their registration fees, but most are based on the weight of your vehicle. Compare these state fees and learn how purchasing auto insurance is a crucial part of the process.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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 insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • Car registration fees among U.S. states are as low as $8 or surpass $200 on the high end
  • In addition to first-time registration fees, you may need to pay other fees, including state and licensing fees
  • You will need to provide valid proof of auto insurance to keep your car registration active

How much are car registration fees by state? And is car registration related to auto insurance quotes?

As you can imagine, no state’s registration fees are the same. They all use different metrics, and some states add unique fees.

Overall, few states have annual car registration fees — at least after two years. But when you are purchasing auto insurance, you will need to carry the right amount to keep your car registration valid.

Be careful not to confuse the registration with the title. The difference between a vehicle’s registration and the title is that, while a title expresses direct ownership of the vehicle, a vehicle’s registration proves that you’ve paid taxes on your car to your state.

Read on to learn about car registration fees by state. How expensive is it, and what metrics do different states use to set their prices? While you are thinking that over, would you like to see rates from top auto insurance companies where you live? Just enter your ZIP code to get started.

How much is a vehicle registration fee in my state?

Here is how much car registration costs in each state, including the District of Columbia:

Car Registration Fees by State
StateRegistration Fees
ColoradoWeight-based fee
Connecticut$120, plus $80 renewal for two years
District of Columbia$72-$155
Florida$14.50-$32.50, $225 for new vehicle
Hawaii$12 minimum
IowaUp to 1% of the vehicle’s list price, plus $0.40 per 100 pounds
Massachusetts$60 for two years
MichiganBased on value or weight, depending on the vehicle’s age
Minnesota$35 minimum
Mississippi$12.75 for renewals, $14 for new registration
Missouri$18.75 minimum (based on taxable horsepower)
Nebraska$15, plus $5.50 in extra fees
New Hampshire$31.20 minimum
New Jersey$35.50
New Mexico$27-$62
New York$26-$140
North Carolina$38.75
North Dakota$49-$274
Oklahoma$96 for new registration, decreases over time
Oregon$122-$152 (based on model year and miles per gallon)
Rhode Island$30 minimum
South Carolina$40
South Dakota$36-$144
Utah$44 (up to six tons), $69.50 (over six tons), plus $19 for every ton over seven tons
Vermont$76 for the first year, $140 for two years
Virginia$30.75 (less than two tons), $35.75 (over two tons)
West Virginia$51.50
Wyoming$30 minimum
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Car registration fees in Kansas and Wyoming differ based on the county. Below are more notes about state fees.

Weight-Based Fees

Most states with a range of prices base their registration fees on vehicle weight. Besides Colorado, Utah, and Virginia, the following states use purely weight-based metrics for their car registration fees:

  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • South Dakota
  • Washington

Rhode Island’s fees apply to vehicles weighing up to 4,000 lbs. fees increase based on the vehicle’s weight.

Other Metrics

Other states’ fees differ based on the age of the vehicle, its value, or some hybrid of factors. Idaho, Iowa, and Montana’s fees are based on a vehicle’s age. Louisiana and Minnesota’s fees are based on a vehicle’s value.

Car registration fees in New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Dakota depend on a vehicle’s age and weight.

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Are there any other fees I need to pay with my car registration?

Nine states add various taxes and charges along with car registration fees.

Additional Car Registration Fees by State
StateAdditional Registration Fees
Alabama$50 annual fee
Arizona$32 Public Safety Fee
CaliforniaExtra fees, including CHP and Transportation Improvement
Missouri$6-$12 processing fee
Montana3% fee
Nebraska$5.50 in extra fees
New Hampshire$10 transfer fee and local fees
Rhode Island$15 surcharge
TexasLocal fees
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Additionally, states might add title fees and license plate fees.

Is car registration needed for auto insurance?

No, it’s the other way around. Across the country, state motor vehicle departments are working to ensure there are no uninsured drivers. As part of the effort, DMVs require drivers to have proof of auto insurance before registering their vehicles with the state.

You will need to provide proof of insurance when buying a new car before you can register that car with the state.

There are two ways to register your car with proof of auto insurance. The first is to bring your proof of insurance and an ID when registering your car. Your second option is to register your car and then provide proof of insurance within a specified time frame.

After providing proof of insurance, the Department of Motor Vehicles will check to see if you meet the state minimum requirements for auto insurance. You must provide valid proof of insurance within the required time, or the DMV in your state will suspend your registration.

To find your state DMV online, you can search for it via USA.gov.

Car Registration Fees by State: The Bottom Line

As you can see, as a car owner, you are responsible for many automotive expenses. Not only must you purchase enough auto insurance to meet state requirements, but you must also pay license and registration fees.

Whether you are a new driver or moving to another state, we hope this information has helped you prepare. If you want to see rates from top auto insurance companies in your area, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below.

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