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The Most Car-Hungry States in America

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People in Wyoming really like cars. Or trucks. Or whatever it is they’re getting when they take out auto loans.

Because even though Wyoming is the least populated state (including the District of Columbia), its residents take out the most auto loans in the country, proportionate to its population. In the third quarter, consumers took out 20,547 auto loans, or 0.03526 loans per person, according to the Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence reports and population estimates from the Census Bureau. Year after year, Wyoming is consistently No. 1 on this list.

There’s no strong geographic or population trend among the kinds of states that make up the most car-hungry states. Looking at the last three years of data, many of the same states show up in the top 10, though Michigan is a new addition, when compared to third-quarter data from 2013 and 2012.

The Most Car-Hungry States in America

To come up with this list, we looked at the number of auto loans originated by state (and D.C.) in the third quarters of 2014, 2013 and 2012 and divided that number by the most recent population estimate that would have been available that quarter. (So 2014 loan numbers are divided by the 2013 U.S. census bureau population estimate, and so on.) Here’s how the most car-hungry states rank.

10. Texas (#9 in Q3 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 767,876
2013 population estimate: 26,448,193
Loans per person: 0.02903

9. Michigan (#13 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 293,891
2013 population estimate: 9,895,622
Loans per person: 0.02970

8. Iowa (#11 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 91,934
2013 population estimate: 3,090,416
Loans per person: 0.02975

7. South Dakota (#8 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 25,677
2013 population estimate: 844,877
Loans per person: 0.03039

6. Utah (#5 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 91,568
2013 population estimate: 2,900,872
Loans per person: 0.03157

5. North Dakota (#4 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 23,076
2013 population estimate: 723,393
Loans per person: 0.03190

4. Maine (#6 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 43,614
2013 population estimate: 1,328,302
Loans per person: 0.03283

3. New Hampshire (#2 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 44,676
2013 population estimate: 1,323,459
Loans per person: 0.03376

2. Vermont (#3 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 21,780
2013 population estimate: 626,630
Loans per person: 0.03476

1. Wyoming (#1 in 2013)
Auto loans originated in Q3 2014: 20,547
2013 population estimate: 582,658
Loans per person: 0.03526

Nebraska and Oklahoma dropped out of the top 10 this year after holding spots 10 and 7 in 2013, respectively. On average, there were 0.02539 auto loans originated per person in the U.S. last quarter, the fewest of which were opened in the District of Columbia (its 8,316 new loans equaled 0.01286 loans per resident).

There are many things to consider before you decide to take out a car loan, like whether you should get a new car or used car, how much you can afford to make in monthly payments, how much money you can put down on the loan and the interest rate you will qualify for. Many things impact interest rates, but your credit score has significant influence on the rate you get and, ultimately, how much you pay for the vehicle. Before you go car shopping, make sure you have an idea of where you stand. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, with updates every 30 days to see how your credit behavior affects your score.

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