The Best and Worst Cities To Buy a Car in the U.S.

Where to Buy a Car in the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • Tucson, AZ; Boise, ID; and Gulfport, MS, are the best cities to buy a car.
  • Newark, NJ; Dover, DE; and Torrance, CA, are the best cities for used car dealerships.
  • Santa Clarita, CA; Nashua, NH; and Philadelphia, PA, are the worst cities to buy a car.
  • The best cities for auto insurance are Huntington Beach, CA; Newark, NJ; and Sunnyvale, CA.

Simplifying Car Buying

Are you in the market for a new car? Navigating the car buying process can be overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll provide valuable insights to simplify your car-buying journey.

We analyzed the search volume for car-related terms across all 50 states and the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. Additionally, we examined 254 cities nationwide, focusing on 10 different business types related to the automotive industry. By considering factors such as the number of institutions per capita and their average Yelp ratings, we found the best cities and services for a smooth and enjoyable car-buying experience. Let’s get started.

Where To Buy a Car

We cruised through the past 12 months of search volume data for car-related terms in every state and the 50 most populous U.S. cities. Let’s find out which Americans are most interested in buying a car.

Infographic for car buying across the country

Residents in South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa were busiest searching for “car dealers near me,” “car for sale,” and “used cars for sale.” Meanwhile, Hawaii, Nevada, and Montana residents showed the least interest in car buying. As for cities, Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis had the highest search volume, while San Jose, Oakland, and Cleveland had the least. Perhaps states and cities with the least search volume are investing in public transportation.

As for the best states for buying a car, Mississippi had the most car-related businesses per capita and the best Yelp ratings. Idaho was the second best place to purchase a vehicle, followed by Alabama. Interestingly, we noticed that, apart from New York, states with lower populations were generally better for car buying.

State-by-State Guide

Use the interactive table below to find the best and worst cities for car buying in your state or neighboring area.


According to our analysis, Colorado Springs is where those in Colorado would have the best luck buying a car in today’s market. Conversely, those in Fort Collins might want to explore neighboring cities for better options.

Moving over to Maryland, Baltimore was the best city to buy a car in the state, with a booming market and plenty of choices for car shoppers. In Ohio, Cincinnati offered the best car-buying experience.

Best of the Best

With an overall view of the car buying landscape, let’s take a closer look at the best U.S. cities for car buying and other automotive services.

Infographic for best cities to buy a car

According to our study results, the overall best U.S. cities for buying a car were Tucson, AZ; Boise, ID; and Gulfport, MS. Each city had good car buying options and excellent Yelp ratings.

For more specific services, Huntington Beach, CA, was the best city for new car dealerships and auto insurance. Meanwhile, Newark, NJ, was the best destination for used car dealerships and car auctions. Newark was also one of the best cities for auto insurance.

If you’re searching for top-notch car inspectors, Bridgeport, CT; Concord, NH; and Paterson, NJ, were the best cities for services in this area. For a smog check, Pomona, CA; West Jordan, UT; and Germantown, MD, provided reliable and convenient smog check stations to keep your vehicle environmentally friendly.

And for your annual registration, Fullerton, CA; Wilmington, DE; and Allentown, PA, had the most hassle-free registration services, ensuring a smooth and efficient process.

Worst of the Worst

Unfortunately, not every city has as many excellent service providers as those above. Let’s uncover the worst U.S. cities for car buying and related services.

Infographic for the worst cities to buy a car

Based on our study, Santa Clarita, CA; Nashua, NH; and Philadelphia, PA, were the worst destinations for car buyers. These cities may present challenges in terms of available options or customer experiences, so proceed with caution at car dealerships if you find yourself in these areas.

Breaking things down by services, New York City was the worst for buying a new car and among the five worst for used car dealers, car auctions, and auto insurance. Car shoppers in the Big Apple might want to opt for public transportation or explore nearby cities for better deals, like Newark, NJ.

Moving on to used car dealerships, car auctions, and auto insurance, Columbus, GA, was the worst city for all three services. Make sure you do your due diligence and exercise caution when engaging in car transactions in the southern city.

For other car services, Lexington, KY; Jackson, MS; and Chicago, IL, were the worst places for auto loan providers, so you might want to explore alternative sources for financing. The worst car brokers were in Rochester, MN; Chattanooga, TN; and Springfield, MO. Meanwhile, Lexington, KY; Laredo, TX; and Wichita, KS, had the most poorly-rated car shipping companies.

Finding the Right City

Buying a car is a big decision, and you want to make sure you get a good deal. With the knowledge in this guide, you can confidently embark on your car-buying journey, knowing which areas offer the best options and experiences. To get the absolute best deal, remember to conduct thorough research, consider personal preferences, and consult local resources. With a little research and a confident attitude, you can find the perfect car at the ideal price.


We found the search volume over the past 12 months for all 50 states and the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. for the terms “car dealers near me,” “car for sale,” and “used cars for sale.” Additionally, we looked at 254 cities across the U.S. for 10 different business types (auto insurance, auto loan provider, car auctions, car brokers, car dealers, car inspectors, registration services, smog check stations, and used car dealerships), looking at the number of institutions per capita as well as their average ratings on Yelp.

About JW Surety Bonds

Established in 2003, JW Surety Bonds has soared to the top as the nation’s leading volume surety bond service, offering not only auto dealer bonds but also providing unparalleled bonding and insurance solutions for auto dealers, along with hundreds of other professions.

Fair Use Statement

If you want to share this car-buying wisdom with your friends, family, or anyone else, feel free to do so for noncommerical purposes only. Please provide a link back to this page so readers can access our full findings and methodology

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