New Study Reveals Cheapest Area in US To Purchase a Used Car — Is It Worth the Trip?

By Vance Cariaga
Mon, October 23, 2023 at 8:35 AM EDT

red_moon_rise / iStock.com
red_moon_rise / iStock.com

They might not realize it, but people in Burlington (Vermont), Norfolk (Virginia), Nashville (Tennessee), St. Louis (Missouri) and Milwaukee (Wisconsin) have something in common: They all live within about 470 miles of Cleveland, Ohio. This means they’re within range of how far the average American is willing to drive to buy a car — and Cleveland is located where used cars are cheapest right now.

According to the study Cleveland-Akron in northeast Ohio is the least expensive area in the United States to buy a used car right now with an average price of $31,458, or 8.1% below the national average, according to a new analysis by iSeeCars. The national average is $34,277, but that price can shift by $6,173 between the most and least expensive U.S. cities.

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In its study, iSeeCars analyzed more than 6.5 million used cars across the country to compare the average prices in each of the 50 largest metro areas. Among the highlights:

  • The Florida metro area of West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce is the most expensive area to buy a used car, with an average price of $37,632, or 9.9% above the national average.
  • The Ram 1500 has the biggest price difference between the least and most expensive cities, costing $7,795 more in Denver than it does in Cleveland.
  • The Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Tacoma have the biggest percentage difference between the least and most expensive cities, with a shift of more than 17% in prices for these models.

The ability to save thousands of dollars on the same vehicle might be motivation enough for many consumers to travel a long way to buy a car — especially in a year when high sticker prices and rising interest rates have led to record-high auto payments.

“Research and flexibility are two powerful assets for used car shoppers,” iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer said in a September press release. “Buyers in Cleveland and Cincinnati, the top two cities with the least expensive cars, are already living in the lowest-cost cities and can shop locally. But used car buyers in the most expensive cities like West Palm Beach and Denver might want to research bus and plane schedules as part of their shopping process.”

Research has already shown that consumers will drive long distances to get the best car deals.

A 2022 study from Quantrell Subaru in Lexington, Kentucky, found that Americans are willing to travel an average distance of 469 miles for their next car. Not surprisingly, Alaskans are willing to drive the longest distance at an average of 722 miles — roughly the distance from Washington, D.C. to Chicago. People in Vermont are willing to travel the least distance, at an average of 286 miles.

If you’re looking for a cheaper-than-average used car, these are the five least expensive major metro areas to buy one, according to iSeeCars:

  • Cleveland-Akron (Ohio): $2,769 below the national average
  • Cincinnati (Ohio): $2,605 below
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News (Virginia): $2,326 below
  • Fresno-Visalia (California): $2,315 below
  • Orlando-Daytona Beach (Florida): $2,256 below

Meanwhile, based on average prices, you might want to avoid these five metro areas, which have the most expensive used cars compared to the national average:

  • West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce (Florida): $3,404 above the national average
  • Denver (Colorado): $3,005 above
  • Austin (Texas): $2,599 above
  • SeattleTacoma (Washington): $2,366 above
  • Salt Lake City (Utah): $2,129 above

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.comNew Study Reveals Cheapest Area in US To Purchase a Used Car — Is It Worth the Trip?

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