The world used to be much smaller. Products moved around the globe more slowly -- even between nearby cities -- and the cost of goods reflected that. Modern transportation and logistics have made it cheaper and faster to get a new Ford from Dearborne to San Diego. Aside from state-level incentives or fees, the sticker prices are fairly consistent.
That is not always the case with used cars, and our research shows that used electric cars are not an exception.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule about where EVs are more expensive, but there is a very wide range in the prices for popular models state to state. It’s common to see a $5,000 spread between states. If $5,000 does not sound like a lot of money, consider the difference between a $15,000 car and a $20,000 car. That’s a 33% difference!
Federal Tax Incentives
For buyers looking for a good deal, a new factor in the cost of a car is the first ever federal tax credit for used EVs. Buyers can get up to $4,000 back on their taxes when they purchase a qualified used electric car. The key word is qualified - the tax credit only applies to certain vehicles. To be eligible, vehicles cannot have already been used to claim the credit, and must:
- Be at least two model years old
- Have a battery with at least 7kWh
- Be sold by a licensed dealer
- Be sold for less than $25,000
Consumers will also need to check if they are eligible to receive the tax credit, as there are certain requirements to qualify, including income caps. The tax credit is brand new this year, which means a lot of vehicles and buyers qualify for the credit, but there are still a few hiccups in the process of getting it. Even so, $4,000 makes a world of difference for car buyers on a budget. As a federal credit, it applies no matter which state the car is purchased from.
Used EV Price Changes Between States
Economic inflation tracking typically uses a standard basket of goods to avoid a single item throwing off the whole analysis. We used a similar approach by looking at a representative sample of popular vehicles and taking national averages so we could compare the vehicle bundle price in each state.
The models included in the 2023 Recurrent Price Index are:
- 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
- 2018 Nissan LEAF
- 2018 Toyota Prius Prime
- 2019 Tesla Model 3
- 2019 Chevrolet Volt
- 2020 Tesla Model Y
- 2020 Hyundai Kona EV
- 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Nationally, the current price of pre-owned EVs is hovering around $37,546.14. Tesla remains a notable force in both the new and used EV market, and used Teslas hold their value better than most luxury cars. The average price of a used Tesla nationwide is about $44,987.54. However, there are more options than ever for buyers looking for quality, affordable EVs. If we exclude Teslas, the average national price of a used EV is somewhat lower, at about $33,692.39. Unfortunately, the sub-$25K market, the cars that can qualify for the $4,000 federal tax credit, is still relatively small. That market will need to grow before many shoppers can take advantage of the new tax break. Yet another reason it’s important to shop around for the best deal.
Here’s a deeper dive into some of the most popular EV states.
The California used EV market is the largest in the country, with almost three times as much in inventory as the next biggest market: Texas. You can find any price or level of luxury. The average price for our vehicle bundle in California is $34,484.17 - just under the nationwide average of $37,546.14. Notably, 2018 and 2019 Model 3’s can be found for as low as $27,000, though most are priced between $30k and $37k.
The average price for the Oregon car bundle is much lower than the national average: $31,837.86 to $37,546.14. It is also one of the few states NOT dominated by Tesla inventory. Instead, the Nissan LEAF is the most popular EV to find on the market. Given the usually mild climate in the Pacific Northwest, a LEAF can be a very good buy. Oregon has fewer very high-end EVs than other states in this analysis, with the most expensive model being a $110,000 2022 Model X. With no sales tax in Oregon, these prices may look even better.
Washington is also a great place to look for a Nissan LEAF, with the average price of under $15K. Chevrolet Bolts, BMW i3s, and Toyota Prius Primes are also very available. Tesla Model 3 and Model S are easy to find, but the Model X and Model Y may be more rare. The Washington average was $35,476.29 - just under the national average of $37,546.14. Washington does offer sales tax exemptions on used EVs costing under $45,000.
Tesla rules the road in FL, making up almost 40% of inventory. Model 3s make up almost 19% of inventory, with prices averaging $36K. Nissan LEAFs, Chevy Volt Hybrids, and Chevy Bolts EVs are also popular in the state, and all bring in an average price under $25K. This means that they may be eligible for the $4000 federal tax credit. The state average is about $2367 above the national average for our bundle: $39,913.79 vs. $37,546.14.
Texas is a Tesla state, too, followed by LEAFs and Ford Mustang Mach-Es. It also has the cheapest average price for a 2018 Model 3. Although Texas used to be a stronghold for used BMW EVs and PHEVs, only the BMW i3 is still relatively easy to find. The Texas state average cost is slightly less than the cost in Florida - $39,081.34 - but still more than the national average of $37,546.14. There are some high-end models available here: newer Model X are around $100,000.
Arizona has an interesting blend of used EVs available. Of course there are the Model 3s and LEAFs, but beyond that, there are a high number of Audi e-trons and VW ID.4s. It is still not that popular to see the ID.4 for resale, since it is a relatively new model. The vehicle bundle average in Arizona is $35,942.07, only a bit less than the nationwide average of $37,546.14.
EV sales are booming in New York, particularly around New York City. New York is the state with the second highest number of EV incentives (along with Washington) and is working hard to be a leader in clean energy and clean vehicles. The used EV inventory in New York State is the fourth highest in the nation, and it is the only state where Prius Primes are the most common to find on the secondhand market. The average price for a pre-owned EV in the state is $37,779.14, only $200 above the national average of $37,546.14.
New Jersey has consistently recorded the top 6 highest EV sales volumes among U.S. states. Its used market is more than 50% Teslas, which may explain why the average price of a used EV is a whopping $42,878.54, well above the national average of $37,546.14. A combination of growing public interest, a raft of government policies, and the increasing cost-effectiveness and efficiency of EV technologies has created the perfect storm for the supercharged adoption of EV in New Jersey.
Colorado is in the process of launching its Vehicle Exchange Colorado (VXC) program, which will offer buyers a $4,000 point-of-sale rebate for used EVs in exchange for turning over their old gas guzzlers. The program goes into effect this August. Just over 10% of new car sales in Colorado are EVs, with a good mix of Teslas and LEAFs. Interestingly, there are more used Kia EV6s in Colorado than any other state on this list! The average price for a used EV is lower in the state than the national average - $35,006.45 to $37,546.14.
Illinois is an EV hotspot, with sales rapidly increasing over the last few years. There are many incentives available, including a $4,000 rebate. The statewide average cost of an EV is a little over $1,000 above the national average, hovering at $38,990.55. Although altogether, there are a lof of used Teslas for sale, Illinois is also a hot spot for used Ford Mustang Mach-Es.
Should I Shop for an EV Between States?
Yes, 100%. It is worth looking for your electric car across state lines since many retailers will ship vehicles from out of state. Even with delivery fees, you still may find your dream car within your budget.