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Recreational Vehicle

Guess the top 3 cheapest states to buy, own, and operate your RV!

Recreational vehicles (RVs) have long been the symbol of freedom and adventure, allowing Americans to travel and explore the great outdoors - all while maintaining the comfort of a home on wheels. However, the cost of purchasing, owning, and operating an RV can be a significant financial burden. Fortunately, there are some states in the USA where these costs are significantly lower, making the RV lifestyle more affordable and a lot more accessible. In this Roamly article, and based on 2022 data, we're revealing the top 3 cheapest states to buy, own, and operate your RV.

South Dakota:

South Dakota is widely known for its stunning natural landscapes, making it a perfect destination for RV enthusiasts. However, this state also offers many financial benefits for RV owners, which makes it one of the cheapest states to buy, own, and operate an RV.

  1. No sales tax on RV purchases: South Dakota does not levy sales tax on the purchase of an RV. This can save you thousands of dollars, especially when compared to states with high sales tax rates.

  2. Low vehicle registration fees: South Dakota boasts low vehicle registration fees for RVs, which can save you hundreds of dollars every year. The fees are based on the weight of the vehicle, with lighter RVs benefiting from even lower costs.

  3. Affordable insurance rates: Insurance rates for RVs in South Dakota are generally lower than in other states, helping you save on the overall cost of RV ownership.

  4. Low fuel costs: South Dakota has some of the most affordable fuel prices in the nation, which can help you save money when travelling with your RV.

  5. Reasonable camping fees: Campground fees in South Dakota are generally lower than in other states, making it an affordable destination for RV travel and camping.


Montana, also known as Big Sky Country, with it’s wide open spaces, is another state that offers several financial incentives and advantages for RV owners.

  1. No Sales Tax: Montana has no general sales tax, which means that when you purchase an RV in the state, you do not have to pay any sales tax on the transaction. This can lead to significant savings compared to other states, where combined sales tax rates can range from 5% to 10%.

  2. Lower Registration Fees: The state of Montana also has lower vehicle registration fees compared to many other states. The annual registration fee for an RV is based on the age and value of the vehicle, but overall, the fees are relatively affordable. This can be particularly attractive to RV owners who are looking to minimize their ongoing expenses.

  3. Affordable Insurance Rates: Montana tends to have lower insurance rates for RVs compared to other states. This can be attributed to factors like a lower population density, a relatively low crime rate, and fewer natural disasters compared to some coastal states. As a result, RV owners in Montana can expect to pay lower premiums for their insurance policies, further reducing their overall cost of ownership.

  4. Beautiful Scenery: Last but not least, Montana is known for its beautiful scenery and incredible outdoor activities. From national parks to mountain ranges and everything in between, there are endless opportunities for RVers to experience the best of what the state has to offer. 


The Lone Star State is the last of the top 3 cheapest states in the USA to buy, own, and operate an RV for several reasons. Here are three key factors contributing to Texas’ affordability:

  1. Low-Moderate Sales Tax Rates: Texas has a relatively lower sales tax rate compared to other states, which can help save money when purchasing an RV. The state sales tax rate is 6.25%, that said some local tax rates can add up to 2%, making a combined maximum sales tax rate of 8.25%. While not the lowest in the country, it is significantly lower than some states with rates exceeding 10%.

  2. Affordable RV Insurance: Texas offers competitive insurance rates for RV owners. The cost of RV insurance depends on factors such as the type of RV, its value, and the owner's driving record. Texas has a large and competitive insurance market, which helps keep rates lower. Additionally, since Texas does not experience harsh winters, the potential for weather-related damage is lower, which may contribute to reduced insurance premiums.

  3. Lower Cost of Living and Travel Expenses: Texas has a lower cost of living compared to many other states, making it more affordable to own and operate an RV. Some of the lowest fuel prices in the nation, combined with low campsite fees, as well as general expenses like groceries and entertainment tend to be lower in Texas. The state's large size and diverse landscape also provide numerous travel and road trip opportunities, meaning RV owners can get the most bang for their buck.

  4. Unique Attractions and Experiences: Texas has numerous attractions that provide one-of-a-kind experiences to its visitors. From vibrant cities such as Dallas and Houston to southwestern ghost towns, the diversity of destinations makes Texas an exciting location for RV enthusiasts.

Choosing a cheaper state in the USA to own and operate an RV can make a huge difference to your bottom line, due in no small part to the variations in taxes, registration fees, insurance rates, and cost of living across different states. By selecting a more affordable state, you can benefit from lower annual registration fees, which could save you hundreds of dollars every year. Moreover, smaller details like fuel prices, maintenance costs, and campsite fees are also influenced by the economic and tax landscape of each state. 

By strategically choosing states like South Dakota, Montana and Texas - all with favorable owner/operator costs, you can reduce your overall financial burden, making your RV lifestyle more budget-friendly, and in turn, maximizing your enjoyment of the road and all the new paths it can take you.

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