States With the Highest Auto Loan Balances

Sound Dollar compiled statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to see which states have the highest auto debt balances.

Written by Jill Jaracz / June 22, 2022
Photo at a car dealership
Prostock-studio // Shutterstock

With supply-chain issues during the pandemic driving vehicle prices to record levels, car buyers are taking out bigger loans in order to afford the vehicles they need for everyday living.

Since 2003, the nationwide total average auto loan balance per capita has increased from $2,960 to $5,210—an increase of around 76%. Some consumers have found this to be difficult to manage: In the fourth quarter of 2021, 4% of all auto debt balances in the country were over 90 days delinquent.

Sound Dollar compiled statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s “State Level Household Debt Statistics 2003-2021” report to see which states have the highest auto debt balances. The report was released in February 2022 and contains data from 2021. Data in the report is from the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel and Equifax. If more than one state had the same balance, they tied for the same rank.

A perfect storm of problems helped create today’s situation. For new cars, the initial lockdowns in 2020 halted production for nearly three months, which cut back on the supply of new cars hitting sales lots. In 2021, a microchip shortage made the situation worse as manufacturers couldn’t get the parts they needed to build new cars. The supply of cars tanked just as consumers started spending again, causing prices to go up with increased demand.

When consumers couldn’t get their hands on new cars, they turned to the used car market. Supply couldn’t keep up with the demand, so prices skyrocketed, jumping 42% since the pandemic started to an average of $28,205.

While car buyers are taking out larger loans to fund their purchases, they are also stretching their payments longer. The most common auto loan term used to be 60 months, but now borrowers are seeking out 72-month and even 84-month loan terms. This contributes to higher auto debt balances, costs consumers more in interest payments for the term of the loan, and it leaves them with less money to spend elsewhere.

#25. Idaho

Photo of a town in Idaho
Kirk Fisher // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,190

Total debt per capita: $58,090

#24. Virginia

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,210

Total debt per capita: $69,870

#23. Tennessee

Photo of a Toyota dealership
James R. Martin // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,230

Total debt per capita: $46,900

#22. New Mexico

Photo of a car dealership
Kristi Blokhin // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,320

Total debt per capita: $42,930

#21. Alaska

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,350

Total debt per capita: $63,920

#20. South Carolina

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,420

Total debt per capita: $49,630

#19. Delaware

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,440

Total debt per capita: $58,280

#18. Wyoming

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,480

Total debt per capita: $50,580

#17. Alabama

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James R. Martin // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,550

Total debt per capita: $41,220

#16. North Carolina

Photo of Jeeps in a parking lot
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Average auto debt per capita: $5,600

Total debt per capita: $51,130

#15. Vermont

Photo of a Mercedes dealership
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Average auto debt per capita: $5,620

Total debt per capita: $48,760

#14. West Virginia

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Medard L Lefevre // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,640

Total debt per capita: $32,080

#13. Maryland

Photo of a  grey sedan
Khairil Azhar Junos // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,700

Total debt per capita: $75,460

#11. Nevada (tie)

Photo of a black sedan
RYO Alexandre // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,710

Total debt per capita: $61,150

#11. Utah (tie)

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,710

Total debt per capita: $71,900

#9. Arizona (tie)

Photo inside a car dealership
Mystic Stock Photography // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,780

Total debt per capita: $60,090

#9. Mississippi (tie)

Photo of cars lined up
Krasula // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,780

Total debt per capita: $35,800

#8. North Dakota

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TLF Images // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,800

Total debt per capita: $48,250

#7. New Hampshire

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Average auto debt per capita: $5,860

Total debt per capita: $60,020

#6. Oklahoma

Photo of a parking lot full of cars
Brad Remy // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,900

Total debt per capita: $37,620

#5. Florida

Photo of a Chevrolet dealership
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Average auto debt per capita: $5,980

Total debt per capita: $52,240

#4. Arkansas

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shuttersv // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $5,990

Total debt per capita: $37,000

#3. Georgia

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gmstockstudio // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $6,080

Total debt per capita: $53,900

#2. Louisiana

Photo of a building with cars parked in front
ccpixx photography // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $6,510

Total debt per capita: $43,190

#1. Texas

Photo of a car in a road
Vincent Doyle // Shutterstock

Average auto debt per capita: $7,270

Total debt per capita: $49,720

About the Author

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Jill Jaracz

Jill Jaracz is a Cleveland-based journalist who has covered a number of topics including financial services and general consumer interest and local news.

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