10 States with the Savviest Used Car Buyers

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With U.S. new car prices averaging about $34,000, an average family would need an annual income of around $90,000 to afford an average new car. The most recent report on U.S. household income showed a median of $56,500 for 2015.

That suggests that many households are — or, perhaps, should be — considering purchasing a used car. The average price of a used car in the second quarter of this year was $19,367 according to analysts at Edmunds.com, far more affordable for most U.S. households.

Many Americans have gotten the message. Used car sales in the second quarter totaled 9.8 million. Spread out over the full year, used car sales will easily be double new car sales.

For consumers in the market for a used car, autumn is a good time to shop and pricing may be more favorable because dealers are eager to turn over older inventory. For the rest of the year, though, buyers need an edge.

According to researchers at Vroom, used car buyers in 10 states consistently got the best deals on used cars. The researchers determined the home states of these savvy buyers by comparing the estimated values of used cars with the real-time used vehicle valuations generated by vAuto, a provider software to car dealers. Vroom’s conclusion: “Buyers from these states save an average of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, thanks to their shopping savvy.”

  1. Oklahoma: full-size pickups sell at twice the national rate in the Sooner state.
  2. Louisiana: lots of practice — 91 vehicles for every 100 residents
  3. Michigan: the auto industry capital of the United States
  4. New Mexico: varied terrain makes for picky shoppers
  5. Arizona: lots of buyers over 65 who are pretty shrewd
  6. California: twice as many drivers as any other state, lots of opportunity for dealer turnover
  7. Colorado: the exact opposite of Louisiana — only 34 vehicles for every 100 residents
  8. New York: only 57 cars per 100 residents means dealers have to work harder to make the sale
  9. Missouri: about two-thirds of the state’s 6 million residents are licensed drivers
  10. Pennsylvania: lots of drivers (8.3 million) and lots of Interstate highways (1,759 miles) combine for a lot of car buying

See the Vroom website for more details.