Is It Expensive To Own A Car In Manhattan?

Car prices have spiked across North America but haven’t slowed the demand for a new set of wheels. By April 2022, car prices had increased by 23.9% over the previous year to an average of $34,392 for a five-year-old car. The state of New York ranks in the top 15 highest average increases with a rate of 25.7%. Naturally, cars are costly in the city and the purchase price is only one aspect of ownership.

Why Is Car Ownership Expensive in Manhattan?

The cost of car ownership in Manhattan is similar to other big cities. So, what is it that makes cars so expensive to own in urban areas?

Car Crashes

Car crashes are more frequent in Manhattan due to busy city streets and a large population of impatient drivers. The cost of repairs or even replacing your vehicle can be astronomical. According to Experian, average repair costs after an accident could range from $20 to repair a windshield crack to $10,000 for frame damage repair.


Parking is an expensive but necessary part of car ownership in Manhattan. Public parking lots and garages charge hefty service fees, ranging from $10 to $35 per hour. Some residential neighborhoods can cost $570 a month for a spot. With limited street parking available, getting around the city with a car can become quite costly.


Fuel prices in Manhattan exceed the national average by a small margin, but it adds up. To make matters worse, New Yorkers spend a lot of time sitting in traffic and wasting that fuel on no miles. When writing this, AAA estimated the national average at $3.44 per gallon, while the New York average sat at $3.54. New York City was slightly more expensive, with an average of $3.59. It’s also worth noting that there are very few gas stations after passing 96th Street in Manhattan.

Registration Fees

New York State law requires vehicles to be registered every two years. To register, drivers must pay a fee. This varies by vehicle type and model year, but you can expect to pay the following:

  • A minimum two-year fee of $32.50 for an electric vehicle and vehicles with more than six cylinders
  • $50 for a title certificate
  • $25 for vehicle plates
  • Sales tax, which varies by jurisdiction

Vehicle Maintenance

The cost of regular maintenance and repairs can take a toll on your wallet. Maintenance depends on the age, reliability of the vehicle and maintenance schedule. Labor costs are higher in New York City than in other areas, which can factor into higher prices for oil changes and other services.


Insurance premiums are much higher in cities with high levels of traffic. With a population of over 1.6 million people, Manhattan is no exception. Surprisingly, insurance in New York City is lower than in other cities in the state. People in New York can expect to pay an average of $1,589 for full coverage, which is 10% less than the state’s average annual premium. Compare this to Hempstead, which averages $3,453 for the same.


Depreciation is an unavoidable part of car ownership. It can be especially harsh in Manhattan as resale values are lower than in other areas due to the rust that follows salting roads in the winter. Use consumer resources such as KBB’s Fair Market Value to evaluate depreciation costs when purchasing a new vehicle.

High Interest Rates for Car Notes

Interest rates have increased across the United States. Consequently, car owners now pay an average of 9.34% auto loan interest for used cars and 5.12% for new vehicles. These higher rates can significantly increase the monthly costs of owning a car in Manhattan.

How Can You Reduce the Cost of Owning a Car in Manhattan?

Despite high average ownership costs, drivers have found ways to reduce costs. Review the options carefully and determine which ones suit your preferences and priorities.

Consider an Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in the city. Electric cars come with significant government subsidies, lower maintenance costs, and no tailpipe emissions. They are cheaper to own in the long run and you don’t need to worry about buying gas.

Public Transportation & Ridesharing

Owning a car doesn’t mean you need to take it everywhere you go. Some routes are still easier to travel via bicycle, on the subway or on foot. Review your routes carefully, and then choose what works best for you. This can reduce fuel costs.

Learn Basic Car Maintenance Skills

You can only change your oil in New York if you have access to proper disposal. However, there are several other maintenance tasks you can learn to do yourself, such as topping up fluids and replacing your windshield wipers.

Create a Carpooling Group

You can split car costs if you have other coworkers or friends who might consider carpooling with you. This can reduce costs for everyone in the group and help you avoid traffic. Typically, people who carpool make contributions toward gas.

Buy When You Have Good Credit

Interest rates can vary dramatically depending on your credit score. If you have good credit, you can get a better deal on financing or lease terms. Work with the car dealership to see what offers are available for good credit customers.

Consider Liability-Only Insurance

If you drive safely, own an inexpensive vehicle or you have cash on hand, liability-only insurance might work for you. Liability-only insurance covers only the associated costs of damages attributed to you for injuries or damages to someone else or property. You would have to pay out of pocket for injuries to yourself and damage to your vehicle.

Is It Worth Owning a Car in Manhattan?

Most people move to the cities for convenience and proximity to the things they need. Public transportation makes it easy to travel from one place to the next without needing a vehicle. So, is it worth getting one while living in Manhattan? Consider the following advantages.


A car can be the most convenient option if you travel long distances. You have complete control over where and when you’ll go. This is especially advantageous in places where public transportation might get too crowded at certain areas or times of the day.


Having a car gives you freedom in planning your commutes, errands and other activities. You can go anywhere without relying on a third party for transportation, even when that means leaving New York altogether.


A car is also the best way of maintaining your privacy during travel. You don’t have to worry about being surrounded by strangers or having uncomfortable conversations with your fellow riders. This is especially important for immunocompromised people who better preserve their health by avoiding crowded areas.

Why You Need an Experienced Attorney After a Crash

Owning a car is expensive, but not having access to one when you need it can cost you even more. For example, you might have a long commute disrupted by losing access to your car after an accident. An experienced attorney cannot reduce your cost of car ownership, but he or she can help you protect your investment after a crash. Contact us to learn more.



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