The C-Class is the compact executive sedan car produced by Mercedes-Benz since 1993.
Both new and prospective owners of the C-Class often wonder about road tax and how much it is across the US.
This article answers the question “How Much Is Road Tax For A Mercedes C-Class In The US?”…
How Much Is Road Tax For A Mercedes C-Class In The US?
In the US, what other countries call “road tax” is referred to broadly as the “registration fee.”
For a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, how much you pay will depend on which state you are in. For half of the states, it is a flat fee between $15 to $100. In other states like New York, it’s based on weight and could cost as much as $66 in that state depending on the final curb weight of your C-Class.
Other states use age-based, value-based, and other ways of calculating the registration fee, which we will get into in more detail further below.
Is The Road Tax Different In Every State?
Registration fees (US equivalent to other countries’ annual road tax) do differ in every state.
The differences occur not just in the amount that you would pay for registering a car, but also for additional fees and special requirements that exist in each state.
Some states like California and Florida have high registration fees because they may also include additional taxes that have to be paid when registering the car for the first time.
The main methods used by different states when calculating registration costs are:
- A flat rate – Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and others
- Weight-based – New York, New Jersey, Virginia, New Mexico, and others
- Value-based – California, Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, and others
- Age-based – Montana, Idaho, and Oklahoma
- Other systems – Missouri and Washington
Final registration costs can therefore vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
About half of the states use simple flat fees, but the other half applies varying charges depending on the things mentioned in the above list, such as weight, current value of the car and more.
There are also potentially some additional fees to pay if you were to purchase a Mercedes-Benz C-Class in one state but then drive it to another state for registration.
What Is The Cheapest State To Buy A C-Class?
On the surface, the cheapest state would most likely be New Hampshire, along with Alaska, Montana, Delaware, and Oregon.
The main reason for this is that there would be no sales tax applied to the C-Class sticker price, which for a high-end car like a Mercedes makes a huge difference in price.
Even if some other locations could beat the sticker price of these states, it’s hard to compete with the final price when you factor in sales tax.
In all of these states, registration fees are also relatively low.
In New Hampshire in particular, additional costs like insurance and maintenance are very competitive nationally, which would arguably make New Hampshire the single cheapest state in which to buy a C-Class.
One more state does stand out, however, and that’s Florida. If you were to buy a used Mercedes-Benz C-Class, one might argue that Florida is a better location.
Although Florida has among the highest registration fees at more than $220 (with additional costs based on weight), it is also a rich and diverse marketplace that keeps prices low.
Florida residents are, on average, older than in other states, and they sell their cars more frequently.
The reason for this is that many of them, after retiring, do a lot less driving in the car and might be wanting to swap their Mercedes-Benz for something different.
This provides a rich supply for the market, which keeps prices competitive.
There are also good things to be said for Oregon because Oregon has very few unexpected additional costs that come with buying the Mercedes C-Class.
Oregon is the best state for unexpected fees because even with all possible surprising extras being factored in, they won’t total more than about $130.
Road Tax In The 50 States: From The Cheapest To The Most Expensive
Because the 50 states use somewhat different mechanisms to calculate registration fees, we’ve used just the base fee below and not factored in the additional costs that could be applied.
We have, however, indicated where those additional costs can emerge.
The following data comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures:
|State||Base Registration (USD)||Payable||Other Fees and Notes|
|Colorado||No statewide base||Annually||Ownership tax is calculated from 2.1 percent in 1st year down to 0.45 percent after 5th year and beyond|
|Iowa||No statewide base||Annually||Registration fee is equal to percent of value as fixed by department plus $0.40 per 100lbs weight|
|Louisiana||No statewide base||Biennial||License plate cost is 0.1 percent of vehicle value per year with minimum base of $10,000|
|Michigan||No statewide base||Annual||Models from 1984 onward are charged on MSRP; pre-1984 based on weight|
|Arizona||$8||Annually||+$1.50 air quality research fee + vehicle license tax|
|Minnesota||$10||Annually||+1.25 percent of base value of vehicle; base value reduces 10 percent annually|
|New York||$26||Biennially||Final rate based on weight|
|Nebraska||$15||Annually||Some additional taxes apply based on MSRP|
|Mississippi||$15||Annually||Additional tax from counties|
|Missouri||$18||Annually||Based on horsepower; C-Class would fall under $51 72hp+ category|
|South Carolina||$40||Biennially||First-time registration +5 percent vehicles sales price|
|Kentucky||$21||Annually||Additional fees if registering by mail or online|
|Oregon||$43||Biennially||Additional county fees may apply|
|Alabama||$23||Annually||Add $50 for passenger vehicles more than 8,000lbs|
|Tennessee||$23.75||Annually||Some cities and counties charge additional fees|
|New Mexico||$27||Annually||Final rate based on weight and model year|
|Kansas||$30||Annually||Additional property taxes levied by counties|
|Washington||$30||Annually||Additional fees added based on vehicle type, weight, location and more|
|New Hampshire||$31.20||Annually||Heavier vehicles charged more|
|Nevada||$33||Annually||Additional government service taxes apply|
|New Jersey||$33.50||Annually||Price increases based on age and weight of vehicle|
|Ohio||$34.50||Annually||Additional fees may apply if owners pay multi-year rates|
|Maine||$35||Annually||Municipalities charge additional excise taxes|
|North Carolina||$36||Annually||Additional county fees apply|
|Pennsylvania||$36||Annually||$5 fee added in some counties|
|Indiana||$36.36||Annually||Includes infrastructure improvement fee; some additional fees also apply|
|Virginia||$40.75||Annually||Additional local taxes apply|
|Utah||$43||Annually||Additional fees may be applied according to vehicle type|
|Hawaii||$45||Annually||Additional registration fees are levied by counties|
|California||$46||Annually||+Transportation Improvement fee of $25-175, +California Highway Patrol fee $24|
|North Dakota||$49||Annually||Final rate based on weight and number of years previously registered|
|Texas||$50.75||Annually||Additional fees may apply|
|Idaho||$69||Annually||This is rate for new cars; older cars enjoy lower rates|
|Vermont||$76||Annually||Can pay $140 for 2-year registration; different fees are applied to alternative fuels (not electric)|
|Oklahoma||$85||Annually||Applies to new cars; fees go down on older vehicles|
|Montana||$217||Annually||Applies to new vehicles; lower rates on older vehicles|
|Florida||$225||Annually||Additional fees apply|
What Determines The Amount Of Road Tax?
As we mentioned above, the current primary modes of determining the level of the annual or biennial registration fee are a flat rate, vehicle weight, vehicle age, and a vehicle’s current value.
There are some additional factors, too:
1. Environmental Impact – States like California levy additional fees based on the potential impact that a car might have on the environment, in particular the air quality.
Cars with diesel engines are therefore more expensive than zero-emission vehicles, for example.
2. Additional Fees and Taxes – There are states that levy additional fees to cover things like road maintenance and Highway Patrol.
Two examples of this kind of state are Indiana and California.
3. MSRP Vs. Sales Price Vs. Current Value – Those states that use value as a metric may use the MSRP as recommended by the dealership or other seller.
They may also use the actual sales price that you finally negotiate.
If the car is pre-owned, then they may instead look at the current value of the car according to a source like Edmunds or the Kelley Blue Book.
4. Weight Brackets – Most weight-based charges are organized into different thresholds, with 3,000lbs being a common minimum level.
Between 3,000 and 5,000lbs is the next typical (though not always exact) threshold, following by 5,000lbs+.
5. First Time or Not – The first time you register a vehicle will invariably be a higher cost because it comes with additional taxes and fees.
Registration fees for renewals are usually cheaper.
Some states have a downward scale for registration fees, lowering the cost of the registration fee as the car naturally depreciates.
Can You Buy A C-Class In Another State And Drive It Home?
Technically, yes, you can do this and then drive the car to your home state, but you will have to register it and pay tax in your home state.
This means that you can’t take advantage of another state’s low (or lack of) sales tax unless you are also a resident there and plan to register the car in that state.
For example, let’s say you bought your Mercedes-Benz C-Class in Delaware, taking advantage of the lack of sales tax.
You might initially save money on the sale of the car because there is no sales tax, but when you drove it home to, say, New York State, then you would have to register it there according to New York rules.
The same is true with any combination of states.
If you are buying a used C-Class, then you might need a bit of additional preparation.
Buying from a private seller and then driving it back to your home state is perfectly legal, but you should be ready for a Highway Patrol officer to stop you probably to ask about why you have no license plates.
You can show the officer your documentation saying you’ve just bought the car and are taking it back to your home state to register and get license plates.
Finally, you should also make sure that you have insurance for the drive back.
You can contact your insurance provider ahead of time and make sure that’s in place.
Which States Charge Property Tax On Cars?
If you are a resident of any of the following states, then the bad news is that your C-Class will come with an additional property tax that is levied upon your car.
These states include (and their tax rate from lowest to highest):
- Louisiana – 0.10%
- Michigan – 0.59%
- California – 0.65%
- Alabama – 0.69%
- Iowa – 1.00%
- Arkansas – 1.01%
- Indiana – 1.20%
- North Carolina – 1.21%
- Montana – 1.25%
- Minnesota – 1.29%
- Kentucky – 1.45%
- Nebraska – 1.59%
- West Virginia – 1.66%
- Arizona – 1.68%
- Colorado – 1.79%
- Wyoming – 1.80%
- Nevada – 1.80%
- New Hampshire – 1.80%
- Kansas – 1.94%
- Massachusetts – 2.25%
- South Carolina – 2.38%
- Maine – 2.40%
- Connecticut – 2.61%
- Missouri – 2.63%
- Rhode Island – 3.44%
- Mississippi – 3.50%
- Virginia – 4.05%
To see what this would mean, we could apply it to a $25,000 sedan car. In the lowest property tax state, Louisiana, that would mean an additional $25 per year.
In a mid-ranking tax state, like Indiana, it comes to $300 per year. At the top end, in Virginia, you’ll pay $1,012 extra annually on your sedan.
That would translate to a lot more for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Is The Road Tax Much More Expensive Than Other Cheaper Brands?
Registration fees for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class will only be more expensive than cheaper brands if you purchase it in one of the 25 states that don’t use a flat rate.
When additional costs apply based on the value of the car, then the C-Class will certainly be more expensive to register and tax each year. When a property tax applies, the same is true.
On the other hand, a Mercedes-Benz C-Class doesn’t necessarily weigh more than any other executive sedan, unless it is further laden with ADAS equipment (which some are).
In flat-rate states and weight-based states without a property tax added in, the C-Class is no more expensive than any other similar sedan.
When you factor in value-based costs and taxes, however, clearly it will cost more.
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