The costs of owning a car don't stop when your loan or lease is paid off. Between insurance, gas prices and upkeep, maintaining a car is a long-term expense. And, depending on what state you live in, those expenses can be much higher or lower, according to industry analyses.
Financial website GOBankingRates collected data from AAA.com, CarInsurance.com, CarMax.com, CarMD.com, state Department of Motor Vehicle sites, Kelley Blue Book and the National Conference of State Legislatures, to determine the average cost of owning a car in all 50 states.
Based on that data, here are the 10 most expensive states to own a car:
Cost for three years of ownership: $16,239.29
Cost for three years of ownership: $15,431.62
GOBankingRates: Most and Least Expensive State to Own a Car
Cost for three years of ownership: $15,219.59
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,995.86
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,826.89
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,535.43
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,531.68
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,516.10
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,445.41
Cost for three years of ownership: $14,098.60
"When budgeting for a car, many financial experts recommend limiting auto-related expenses to around 10 percent to 20 percent of income," the study notes. "But budgeting can be tricky when auto loan payments, car insurance premiums [and] vehicle maintenance add up."
Award-winning financial advisor Suze Orman and car aficionado Jay Leno agree on one way you can save money, no matter where in the country you are, based on how you pay for the car itself: Buy, don't lease.
While monthly lease payments can be lower than loan payments, they can add up considerably in the long run. And once you pay off a loan, it's gone for good, whereas, if you lease, at the end of your term, the monthly payment will be gone, but your car will be gone, too.
"I always think it's better to buy," Leno tells CNBC Make It. "Everyone seems to lease now," and "thinks you can write off this and write off that. But at the end of the lease," he says, you won't have anything to show for it.
Once you have a car, stick with it for "as long as you can," Orman advises, and look into refinancing options for your loan if you have good credit. And, if you're car shopping, stay within your budget. "The car you want may be too expensive," she says, but "the car you need can be very affordable. All it takes is a willingness to only shop for cars that make financial sense."
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!
Video by Mary Stevens