Study: Ga. costliest state to own car

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Cars -- In buying a used car, you save money on both the initial cost and the insurance. But be sure to have a trusted mechanic check it out first.

ST. MARYS, Ga. - No one likes paying for car repairs, and if you live in Georgia, you've got more to complain about.

A new report from personal finance website says Georgia is the costliest state in the nation to own a car. The study factored in gas costs, insurance, repairs, taxes and fees.

It found that Georgia is the only state where drivers pay more than $4,000 a year to operate a car -- twice as much as some others in the country. Forty-six percent of the $4,233, or $1,952, is on taxes and fees.

Roy Howard, of St. Marys, bought his truck used in 2004. He says it's just a money pit when it comes to gas and maintenance, and state taxes don't help with the burden.

"The taxes, I think we're overtaxed in Georgia and the people in Georgia's getting taken advantage of when it comes to the tax situation," Howard said.

Taking every penny into consideration, Howard estimates he pays $5,000 to $10,000 a year total to drive his truck.

Oregon is the state with the lowest average vehicle taxes and fees at $157 or less.

"I pay roughly $500 or $600 a year in state taxes to operate my vehicle, plus tag and insurance and such," Georgia resident Edward Briggs said.

Briggs owns Auto Pros, a repair shop in St. Marys. He said while the cost of gas and taxes is non-negotiable, what drivers pay in maintenance can be left up to them. Briggs said it's something they can save on.

"Keeping up on your maintenance, watch your tires, keep your alignment in that will also help with your fuel economy, too," he said. "Keep your tires rotated, balanced, oil change. Make sure you keep all your maintenance up to par."

Briggs said there is most definitely a difference in the bills for customers of his that stay on top of it and those who don't.

"You see that more than anything people," Briggs said. "With the way the economy is, it's hard for people to keep their maintenance up like they should. You do have the people that maintain the vehicles like they should and you do see a lower cost in repairs."

The report says the estimated annual cost to own a car in Florida is $3,413. The national average stands at about $3,200.

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