Can you get a better deal buying from a different state?

I'm considering buying a new or 1-year-old used car. I currently live in Massachusetts and am moving to Denver this summer. I wonder whether there is a price difference between states for the same car. Does it matter whether I buy the car in Massachusetts or Denver?

Mustafa O., Worcester, Mass.

Unless you need a new vehicle to drive to your destination, your best bet would probably be to buy a car in Colorado, regardless of any price difference.


You didn't specify what type of vehicle you might be considering, and that could have a bearing on the price in both locations. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are de rigueur in Denver, for obvious reasons. Though four-wheel drive also is popular in New England, it probably isn't as essential, so SUVs and other four-wheel-drive models may not be in as great demand as in Denver.

Use the Buy feature, here, to scope out prices for new and used cars in Boston and Denver to see if you can detect a difference. Compare apples to apples as far as specific models and how they are equipped to reach valid conclusions. With used cars, searching for certified pre-owned vehicles in both cities should help you determine if there is a significant price difference. Again, do your best to compare similar models with similar miles on the odometer.

Even if you find that prices in Massachusetts are lower than in Denver, any savings might be wiped in the move from the East to the West. First, you will either have to drive your new wheels from Worcester to Denver or have it shipped. Option A will add 1,930 miles to your odometer and dent your wallet for fuel, and Option B will cost more.

If you buy a vehicle in Massachusetts you may have to register it there before you leave and pay sales tax and a title fee. When you get to Colorado, you will have to register the vehicle there and pay more fees. In addition, Colorado levies an ownership tax that is based on the vehicle's age and varies by county. You may get dinged with that tax when you arrive, which you can read about here. You should check in both states as to how their regulations would affect you.

Unless buying a car where you live now is, say, $1,500 or so cheaper, we think waiting until you're settled in Denver is the better choice.

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Answered by Rick Popely on June 14, 2013 in I'm Just Wondering | Permalink

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