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The Cost of a Used Car in Major U.S. Cities

A header image for a blog about the best U.S. cities to buy a used car

The U.S. used car market was valued at $195 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $302 billion by 2027. Used cars are a vital part of American transportation, but where are the best places to buy a used car when taking into account cost, mileage, and car brand availability?

To answer this question, we analyzed tens of thousands of used cars for sale from in America’s 100 largest cities. We found the secondary auto markets where buyers can expect to pay the most and least, where used cars are used more heavily before being put back on the market, and which car brands are dominating used car listings across the country.

Grab your go-to road trip snack, buckle up, and queue up your playlist as we embark on a journey through the winding road that is the U.S. secondary auto market.

How Much Does a Used Car Cost in America’s Largest Cities?

A U.S. map showing the cities with the most expensive used cars for sale

In our exploration of the secondary auto market across America’s largest cities, we found that the average cost of a used car in our study stands at $23,635. But that figure can fluctuate greatly depending on where you live.

Cities With the Most Expensive Used Cars

  1. Tulsa, Oklahoma – $29,711
  2. Little Rock, AR – $28,348
  3. New Orleans, LA – $28,291
  4. Jackson, MS – $27,993
  5. Greensboro, NC – $27,903

These cities exhibit higher-than-average costs for used cars, reflecting various factors such as demand, availability, and local economic conditions. While you might think more expensive urban areas would top the list of most expensive cities for used cars, the top of the list is dominated by smaller, rural locales. With less dense populations and fewer public transit options, it seems residents in these cities have to pay a premium for transportation of their own.

Cities With the Least Expensive Used Cars

  1. New York, NY – $17,890
  2. Worcester, MA – $19,858
  3. Allentown, PA – $19,954
  4. Philadelphia, PA – $20,357
  5. Harrisburg, PA – $20,620

These cities present opportunities for budget-conscious buyers to find quality used vehicles at more accessible price points.

Perhaps the most surprising city in our ranking is New York City — well known for its high cost of living — coming in as the least expensive to buy a used car. The city’s high public transit use is likely a driving force behind this, as demand for a car isn’t as high with such sound public transportation options.

How Many Miles Are On Used Cars For Sale in Major American Cities?

A U.S. map showing the cities with the most heavily used cars for sale

The next part of our study on the secondary auto market centered around the mileage used cars for sale have on them across the country. The average mileage of a used car for sale in our study stands at 81,721 miles, but much like the cost data, this can vary a great deal depending on where the car picked up those miles.

Cities With the Most Heavily Used Cars for Sale

  1. Knoxville, TN – 99,523 miles
  2. New York, NY – 95,216 miles
  3. Kansas City, MO – 93,952 miles
  4. Des Moines, IA – 92,035 miles
  5. Denver, CO – 91,385 miles

These cities reflect a higher-than-average mileage on the used cars available for purchase, potentially indicating longer periods of previous ownership or more extensive usage. The wear on a car is a very important factor for buyers to consider when shopping for their next vehicle.

Cities With the Least Heavily Used Cars for Sale

  1. Buffalo, NY – 69,545 miles
  2. Albany, NY – 71,195 miles
  3. Providence, RI – 71,685 miles
  4. McAllen, TX – 71,968 miles
  5. Little Rock, AR – 72,520 miles

Conversely, certain cities have used cars with lower mileage averages, providing buyers with options that may have experienced less wear and tear. Cities like Buffalo and Providence offer opportunities for prospective buyers to find vehicles with lower mileage, potentially translating to reduced maintenance costs and longer-term reliability.

The Most Common Car Make of Used Cars For Sale in Major U.S. Cities

Finally, there are a few well-known car brands that dominate the secondary auto markets.

Ford emerged as the most common car brand of used cars for sale in 42 out of 100 cities. Renowned for its durability and versatility, Ford vehicles are popular with buyers across diverse urban landscapes.

Following closely behind, Toyota claims the spotlight in 24 out of 100 cities. Known for its reliability and fuel efficiency, Toyota remains a common choice among consumers seeking dependable transportation solutions.

Equally prominent, Chevrolet also features in 24 out of 100 cities as the most prominent car brands of used cars for sale. With a diverse lineup of vehicles, Chevrolet maintains its stronghold in the used car market.

These findings shed some light on the enduring popularity and durability of certain car brands in major U.S. cities, reflecting regional consumer preferences, brand loyalty, and quality.

Closing Thoughts

New cars are generally more expensive to insure than used cars because they’re more expensive to repair due to newer car technology and components. But other factors such as age, location, and driving history play a large role in dictating the cost of auto insurance. Whether the car you’re financing is new or used, lenders typically require you to have full coverage insurance.

As you consider your options when on the hunt for a new vehicle, it’s important to be aware of insurance requirements and what you need to have covered. Assurance IQ has all the information you need to help find the right auto insurance policy for your needs.


To determine the best secondary auto markets in the U.S., we scraped over 40,000 used car listings from in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. We found the average price of all used cars, the average mileage of the cars for sale, and the car makes that are sold most often in each city.

For the purpose of our study, used cars are those listed for sale within each metro area that had at least 50,000 miles on them and only one previous owner.

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Find an auto insurance policy that meets your needs.

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