Car Registration Fees by State: What to Know

Hawaii and Colorado are the most expensive states to register a vehicle in. Arizona and Mississippi are among the most affordable.

Catherine Collins
Catherine Collins

Catherine leverages her background in education and finance to write articles that help readers make informed decisions about their insurance and finances.

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Chris Schafer
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Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
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Konstantin Halachev
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Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
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  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated July 11, 2023

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While every state requires registration, the price you pay to register a vehicle varies from state to state.[1] If you fail to register your vehicle, you could face fines, court hearings, and even jail time.

Hawaii and Colorado are the most expensive states to register a vehicle in. Arizona and Mississippi are among the most affordable. However, registration fees can be deceptive, and a low base fee in some states may only be the foundation for additional taxes and fees. 

This article is your starting point for understanding what you can expect to pay to register your vehicle in your state. You can always contact your DMV with any follow-up questions.

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Fees to expect when registering your car

Here are some of the most common fees you’ll likely pay when registering your car:

  • Registration fee: This is the cost to register your car in your state, something that’s required for you to drive legally. When you register, you’ll get a certificate to keep in your vehicle.

  • License plate fee: This fee is based on a unique formula for each state where it’s applied. In some states, the license plate fee is combined with the registration fee. In others, it’s assessed on its own. The nature (passenger or commercial), weight, make, and year of the vehicle can all play a part in determining the fee.

  • Title fee: This is a form, known as a car title, that you keep to show proof that you legally own the vehicle. The fee you pay is largely assessed for the processing of this document.

Registration fees by state

States structure registration fees in multiple ways:[1]

  • As a flat rate

  • Based on vehicle weight

  • Based on vehicle value

  • Determined by vehicle age

  • Other methods

Below, you’ll see the car registration fees for each state. Some states have flat fees, while others have fees that vary based on vehicle type, age, and weight.

StateRegistration FeeWhat to Know
Alabama$23–$105Battery electric vehicles cost more.
Alaska$100Fees for commercial vehicles are higher.
Arizona$8Arizona also charges a vehicle license tax along with your annual registration fee.
Arkansas$17–$21Price varies depending on vehicle weight and type.
California$41Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds pay more. An online calculator is available to get an estimate.
Colorado$7.60–$233Fees are based on weight and vehicle type.
Connecticut$44–$266Cost depends on the type of vehicle. Student transportation vehicles can have more affordable registration fees.
Delaware$40Commercial vehicles weighing more than 5,000 pounds cost more.
Florida$14.50–$32.50Prices can be more to register heavy trucks over 5,000 pounds.
Georgia$20Certain counties in Georgia also require emission inspections.
Hawaii$89–$900In Hawaii, each county has a specific way to calculate registration costs, and it varies.
Idaho$45–$69Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have additional charges.
Illinois$78–$158C-Truck registration fees and passenger vehicles could cost more.
Indiana$20Price is for vehicles 7,000 pounds or less. Heavier vehicles will cost more to register.
Iowa$65Iowa has a detailed calculator you can use to get a quick quote for your vehicle.
Kansas$42.50–$52.25Cost varies depending on vehicle weight.
Kentucky$21Cost is for vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Vehicle registration prices vary by county.
Louisiana$10Price is for a vehicle 6,000 pounds or less for a four-year period.
Maine$35Price is for a passenger vehicle. Other types of vehicles might have different fees.
Maryland$135–$187Specialty vehicles, like ambulances and limousines, can cost more.
Massachusetts$60Some commercial vehicles cost less to register.
Michigan$29–$211Price varies depending on vehicle weight, age, and number of times renewed.
Minnesota$90Cost is for vehicles 9,000 pounds or less.
Mississippi$14Renewals cost $12.75.
Missouri$18.25–$51.25Registration fees for passenger vehicles vary depending on horsepower. Registration fees for trucks vary depending on vehicle weight and are not reflected here.
Montana$22.75–$217Motorhomes and boats cost more to register.
Nebraska$60Some minor additional fees are added to every registration.
Nevada$33Vehicles above 6,000 pounds cost more.
New Hampshire$31.20Price is for 3,000 pounds or less. Price goes up for heavier vehicles.
New Jersey$35.50–$84Cost varies depending on vehicle weight and age.
New Mexico$27–$62Registration fees for trucks depend on weight and model year.
New York$26–$140Price depends on vehicle weight, according to the New York DMV.
North Carolina$38.75–$67.25Price depends on vehicle weight.
North Dakota$49–$191Price varies depending on vehicle weight and the number of annual registrations. There is a calculator online to determine an estimate.
Ohio$31–$81Your registration fee depends on the type of vehicle you have.
Oklahoma$26–$96Your registration fee depends on how many years you’ve registered that vehicle.
Oregon$45–$160Your registration fee is based on the vehicle type and maximum MPG.
Pennsylvania$39–$45Price reflects passenger vehicle registration. Other types of vehicles, including trucks, have different fees.
Rhode Island$30–$78Price reflects vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Registration costs more for vehicles over 10,000 pounds.
South Carolina$40This is the registration fee for most passenger cars. Hybrids, electric vehicles, and vehicles previously registered in another state may have an additional fee.
South Dakota$30–$48Vehicles above 8,000 pounds have additional fees. All vehicles registered have to pay a Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Fee of 4% of the purchase price.
Tennessee$39.75Price reflects vehicles under 9,000 pounds. A new law waives registration renewals for some drivers in Tennessee.
Texas$50.75–$54Fees based on vehicle weight. Vehicles above 10,000 pounds cost more to register.
Utah$10–$150Price of registration goes down as the vehicle ages.
Vermont$74–$132Fees shown are for cars. Trucks can cost more depending on weight.
Virginia$30.75–$116.49Vehicle registration fees vary by weight, and electric vehicle registration costs more.
Washington$40Cost reflects vehicles up to 4,000 pounds. Heavier vehicles may have higher registration costs. Get an estimate using an online calculator.
West Virginia$28.50–$78.50Vehicles over 16,000 pounds may have higher registration fees.
Wisconsin$85Trucks, tractors, buses, and some other vehicles cost more to register.
Wyoming$15–$60The $60 fee is for vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

License plate and title fees by state

When you register your vehicle, the state will issue you a license plate (also called license tags) that you’ll have to display on your vehicle. Some states issue a single plate for either the front or rear of the vehicle, while others issue two. Driving without a valid permanent or temporary license plate could earn you a fine.[2]

Below are the license plate and title fees for each state. As a reminder, some states include their license plate fee as part of the overall registration fee.

StateLicense Plate FeeTitle Fee
Alabama$1.25 transfer fee$15
Alaska$0$15
Arizona$12$4
Arkansas$1$10
California$25$25
Colorado$25$7.20
Connecticut$5$25
Delaware$10 with sticker$50
Florida$28$77.25–$85.25
Georgia$20$18
Hawaii$5$5
IdahoN/A$14–$32
Illinois$151–$218$155
Indiana$9.50$15
IowaN/A$25
KansasN/A$10
KentuckyN/A$25 for speed title
LouisianaBased on type, weight, selling price$68.50
MaineN/A$33
Maryland$10$100
Massachusetts$20$75
Michigan$5$15
Minnesota$6$8.25
MississippiN/A$9
MissouriN/A$8.50
Montana$10.30$10.30
Nebraska$4.10$10
Nevada$8$28.25
New Hampshire$8$25
New Jersey$6$60
New MexicoN/AN/A
New York$25$50
North Carolina$21.50$56
North Dakota$37$5
Ohio$6$15
OklahomaN/A$11
Oregon$12.50$101–$192
PennsylvaniaN/A$58
Rhode IslandN/A$52.50
South CarolinaN/A$15
South Dakota$25.20–$144$10
TennesseeVaries based on your countyVaries based on your county
TexasN/A$28–$33
UtahN/A$6
VermontN/A$35
VirginiaN/A$15
Washington$50$5.50
West Virginia$10$15
Wisconsin$75$164.50
WyomingN/A$15

Is it mandatory to register your vehicle?

Yes, if you plan on driving your vehicle, every state requires you to register your car at your local DMV or similar agency.

How to register your car

Each state has its own process for registering a vehicle, so it’s best to check on your state’s division of motor vehicles web page. Some states may require you to register your car in person at a DMV location. Others may allow you to at least begin the process online, while still others allow drivers to complete their registrations entirely online. And many states allow drivers to renew registrations entirely online.

Generally, though, you’ll need to provide the DMV with some information about you and your vehicle, including:

  • Name and address of the registered owner

  • County you live in

  • Year, make, and model of the vehicle

  • VIN

  • Title number

  • Whether the vehicle is leased, financed, or owned outright

  • Classification of the vehicle (private passenger or commercial)

  • Insurer and policy number

What to know about registration and car insurance

Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of liability car insurance. Registration and insurance go hand in hand — most states require proof of insurance to register or re-register a vehicle, and most insurers want confirmation that a vehicle is legally registered in its state.

Failing to insure your vehicle can have serious consequences, such as fines. And failing to register your vehicle could prompt your car insurance company to cancel your policy when it discovers that your vehicle is unregistered.

Bottom line: It’s best to legally register your car and buy and maintain at least your state’s minimum required level of car insurance.

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Car registration FAQs

Looking for more information on registering your vehicle? Before you contact your local DMV, read on. You might find the answer to your question below.

  • Does it cost the same to register all types of vehicles?

    No. Registration fees can vary depending on the type of vehicle. Motorcycles, passenger cars, vans, trucks, and even snowmobiles can have different registration fees depending on gross vehicle weight and other factors. Commercial vehicles may also have different fees.

  • Are there any additional costs you should know about?

    Each state might have additional fees and taxes you’ll have to pay during the registration process. It’s also possible you’ll have to pay sales tax, fuel tax, registration tax, and excise tax. Also, remember that some states charge more to register electric vehicles.

  • How much is the California registration fee?

    It costs $41 to register a car in California, but vehicles over 10,000 pounds can cost more. The California DMV has an online calculator you can use to get an estimate of your fees.[3]

  • How much are registration fees in Illinois?

    It costs between $78 and $158 to register a car in Illinois.[4]

Sources

  1. National Conference of State Legislatures. "Vehicle Registration Fees by State."
  2. Progressive. "Can you drive without a license plate?."
  3. California DMV. "Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator."
  4. Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. "Fees."
Catherine Collins
Catherine Collins

Catherine Collins is a freelance financial writer and author based in Detroit. She's the co-founder of MillennialHomeowner.com and MomsGotMoney.com, and author of the book Mom’s Got Money: A millennial mom’s guide to managing money like a boss. She has written for US News, Huffington Post, Money, Business Insider, Investopedia, Entrepreneur, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications. She currently resides in Detroit, Michigan with her boy-girl twins and a rescue dog named Julep.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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