What Does it Cost To Own A Car in New York City?


Are you considering owning a car in New York City? While it may seem like a decent option,  it is important to weigh the costs and challenges involved before deciding. There are multiple things to think about such as high insurance premiums, expensive parking and gas prices.

With an extensive public transportation system at your fingertips, you may not need a car after all. In this article, we will help you understand the costs of owning a car in New York City to help you decide whether you should buy one or not.  

Initial Costs

Before you make a decision about buying a car, consider the following initial costs. 

Cost Of Purchasing A Car In New York City

Buying a car in NYC can be expensive, and the price depends on various features such as the car’s make and model, condition, and where you buy it from. You can expect to pay anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000. The price for an average new car falls between $40,000 and $50,000, but it’s vital to keep in mind that prices can vary significantly.

Sales Tax And Registration Fees

In NYC, there’s a 4% sales tax on all car purchases, and on top of that, there could be extra country and local taxes that can add up to 4.5%. So on average, you’re looking at around 8% in sales tax when buying a car in New York. 

Also don’t forget to keep these charges in mind, such as the registration payment, title fees, and plate transfer costs. Registration fees range from $32.50 to $140, depending on the type of car and where it’s registered

Insurance Costs

Car insurance in New York can be higher than the average due to a variety of factors, such as the high minimum coverage requirements and the high living expenses. The exact amount you’ll pay for car insurance will depend on the type of coverage you choose, but you can expect to pay around $1,370 per year for minimum coverage and $3,000 per year for full coverage.

Recurring Costs

When you own a car in New York City, several expenses come up regularly and can be quite costly. You must be aware of these recurring costs before deciding to purchase a car. Here are some of the common recurring expenses you should consider.

Gasoline And Toll Costs

It’s important to consider the prices of gasoline and tolls as part of your overall budget. That’s because you’ll need to fill up your tank and pay for tolls whenever you’re driving on bridges or tunnels.

In New York City, gas prices tend to be higher than the national average, ranging from $3.00 to $4.00 per gallon.  At the same time, toll taxes can vary from $9 to $23, depending on the bridge and how far you’re traveling.

Maintenance And Repairs

The amount you’ll need to budget for car maintenance will vary depending on the things such as the make and model of your vehicle, as well as its age. Although new cars usually only require regular maintenance such as oil change and servicing, older cars can end up consuming a lot of money, which is why it’s hard to estimate how much money is required in maintaining an old car . On average, a new car requires about $0.10 per mile to cover the routine maintenance and servicing.

Parking costs

parking garage

Parking your car in New York City can be a real hassle and you can end up wasting a lot of money.  If you choose to park in a garage, you’ll need to budget $300-$500 per month (depending on your location). Alternatively, if you decide to park on the street, you can expect to pay around $19 for a day of parking, and overnight parking rates can vary depending on the location. 

Other Costs

Besides recurring costs, owning a car in NYC can also involves several other expenses that you should be aware of. Here are a few examples: 

Traffic Violations And Parking Tickets

One major element to keep in mind is the charges of parking tickets and traffic violations. Parking tickets in NYC typically range from $35 to $150, and fines for traffic violations can be even more costly, ranging from $50 to $600 or more depending on the severity of the violation.

Cost Of Time Spent Driving In Traffic

As a driver in New York City, you can expect to encounter traffic on a daily basis. So, if you’re thinking about buying a car, be prepared to spend some time stuck in congestion due to the city’s high population density.

Opportunity Cost Of Not Using Public Transportation

an image of inside the train that is full of people

When you opt to drive your own car instead of taking public transportation, you may be overlooking a multitude of benefits that could have a significant impact on your life. By using public transportation, you can enjoy a more efficient and stress-free mode of transportation, especially in busy cities like New York. This can help you steer clear of traffic jams, decrease your carbon footprint, and avoid the hassle of finding parking spaces.

Comparison with Alternative Transportation Options

In this comparison, we will explore the costs of owning a car versus alternative transportation options such as public transportation, and ride-sharing services. Here’s a table comparing the costs of owning a car versus using public transportation:

Cost Item Owning a car  Using public transportation 
Initial Purchase $,40000-$60,000+ (depending on the car) No cost
Maintenance and Repairs $1,000-$2,000+ per year No cost
Insurance $1000-$3000+ per year  No cost
Parking $300- $600+ per month  No cost
Gasoline and toll taxes  Gas Cost: $3-$4/gallon, Toll Tax: $9-$23 (depending on usage ) No cost

Owning a Car vs. Using Ride-Sharing Services

There are a few things to think about like the initial purchase, maintenance, insurance, parking, and fuel charges. These days, more and more people are choosing ride-sharing as a cost-effective alternative to owning a car, especially if you’re taking multiple rides per day. For example, with Uber charging $2 per mile in New York, you could potentially save thousands of dollars a year compared to owning a car.

Environmental Impact of Owning A Car in New York City

In New York City, cars make a big contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the city’s overall carbon footprint. Additionally, cars emit other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which can have negative health impacts on both humans and the environment. 

Tips for Reducing The Cost Of Owning A Car in New York City

Here are a few tips and strategies for reducing the cost of owning a car in NYC. By following these tips, you can save money and enjoy the convenience of having your own vehicle in the city: 

Parking Strategies

  • Master parallel parking: It’s an essential skill for parking in NYC, where tight spaces are the norm. Practice parallel parking until you can confidently park in small spaces, but make sure to be aware of where you are allowed to do so.
  • Read all the signs: NYC parking rules can be complicated, and one sign might not be enough. Check the entire block for additional signs to avoid getting a ticket or towing to an impound lot.
  • Be mindful of snow: During snowfall, park on the left side of the street if possible since snow plows push snow to the right. This will make it easier to dig your car out and avoid getting buried.
  • Consider alternate modes of transportation: If parking fees are consistently high in your area, you can choose different modes of transportation such as biking or walking. This will not only save you money on parking but also on gas and car maintenance.

Maintenance and Repairs

  • Change the oil and oil filter religiously according to manufacturer’s recommendations to extend the lifespan of your car, which is usually every 5-10 thousand miles.
  • Check your coolant and brake fluid levels regularly and use the right type of fluid.
  • Monitor your tire pressure regularly and rotate your tires when required.
  • Lubricate door hinges, trunk hinges, hood latches, and other parts at least once a year.
  • Check your air filter every 6 months and change your cabin air filter if necessary.
  • Replace spark plugs once every 70,000 miles or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Find a reliable mechanic that you can trust for major repairs and avoid quick change of places to ensure quality work without overspending


  • Consider shopping around for insurance quotes if your policy is about to renew and the annual premium has increased significantly.
  • Don’t just go for the cheapest option, verify the insurer’s creditworthiness as well.
  • Use a website that rates the financial strength of insurance companies to check the insurer’s creditworthiness.
  • Review the coverage of the policy to make sure it covers what you need.


Owning a car in New York City can be a significant financial burden due to high initial costs, recurring expenses, and other costs like parking tickets and traffic violations. However, other transportation options are available that can help save you money and offer a more efficient and stress-free mode of transportation.

It’s important to make informed decisions before purchasing a car in New York City, taking into account all the associated charges and benefits. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to explore different transportation options before deciding to own a car.

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