Survey Says

These 30 U.S. cities have the most auto-loan debt

Residents of cities across the U.S. are struggling with auto-loan debt.

Photo courtesy of Explore Georgia, Geoff Johnson

Around 17 million new cars were sold in the U.S. last year, most financed either directly though a dealership or via a private loan. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's latest report on household indebtedness, auto-loan balances have grown steadily over the past eight years, increasing by an additional $18 billion in Q3 2019.

WalletHub compared the median auto-loan balance of more than 2,500 U.S. cities. They then divided the median car-loan debt by residents' income. The median income for each city is based on the 2018 earnings of individuals aged 16 and older who worked full-time year-round, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The figure excludes income from sources other than work. The sample considered only city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.

The following cities earned a spot in the 99th percentile of all cities surveyed.

No. 30 (tie) - Raeford, North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Hoke County, NC - Official Website

Residents of the town of Raeford, in Hoke County, have $19,841 in median auto-loan debt. The town's median income is $32,145. That's a 62 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 30 (tie) - Mission, Texas

The city in Hidalgo County has $22,737 in median auto-loan debt. Mission's median income is $36,825. Its debt-to-income ratio is the same as Raeford, North Carolina's and two other towns on this list.

No. 30 (tie) - Live Oak, Florida

Live Oak, Florida residents have a debt-to-income ratio of 62 percent. Its residents have median auto-loan debt of $16,846 and a median income of $27,111.

No. 30 (tie) - San Benito, Texas

Residents of the town of San Benito, in Cameron County, have $18,655 in median auto-loan debt. The town's median income is $30,132. That's good for a 62 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 26 (tie) - Richmond, Texas

Just north of I-69 and south of Sugar Land, Texas is Richmond where the median auto-loan debt amount is $20,835 and the median income is $33,304. That's a 63 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 26 (tie) - Tolleson, Arizona

Interstate 10 in Maricopa County, west of Phoenix, runs straight through Tolleson, Arizona, where residents has a median incomes of $30,688 but struggle under $19,220 in median auto-loan debt, Like Tifton, Georgia, that's a 63 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 26 (tie) - Tifton, Georgia

The Friendly City in South Georgia has a median income of $28,539 and median auto-loan debt of $18,073 - a 63 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 26 (tie) - Pharr, Texas

Like fellow Hidalgo County citizens in Mission, Texas, Pharr residents have a high debt-to-income ratio - Pharr's is 63 percent. The median auto-loan debt in town is $19,865 and the median salary is $31,613.

No. 22 (tie) - Weslaco, Texas

Weslaco is another Hidalgo County town with a high auto-loan debt-to-income ratio, though their 64 percent ratio is higher than Pharr's. The median income for residents is $35,432 and median amount of debt is $22,561.

No. 22 (tie) - Uvalde, Texas

Halfway between San Antonio and the U.S.-Mexico border to the west sits Uvalde, Texas. Uvalde residents have a high debt-to-income ratio - 64 percent. The median auto-loan debt in town is $19,484 and the median salary is $30,545

No. 22 (tie) - Mount Pleasant, Texas

A 7.5 hour drive north east of Uvalde is Mount Pleasant, Texas where residents have a median income of $30,826 and a median auto-loan debt amount of $19,712, a 64 percent auto-loan debt-to-income ratio.

No. 22 (tie) - Moultrie, Georgia

Moultrie, out in southwest Georgia, is in a similar situation with a 64 percent debt-to-income ratio. Residents of Moultire have a median amount of $17,545 in auto-loan debt and a median income of $27,401.

No. 22 (tie) - Alamo, Texas

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is located just outside of Alamo, Texas.

Photo courtesy of Travel Texas

Residents of the town of Alamo, Texas, a 3.75 hour drive south of The Alamo, $18,655 in median auto-loan debt. The town's median income is $32,884. That's good for a 64 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 17 (tie) - Walterboro, South Carolina

Walterboro is smack dab in the middle of South Carolina's Low Country halfway between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Its residents have a median annual income of $26,108 and a median auto loan debt amount of $16,946. That's a debt-to-income ratio of 65 percent.

No. 17 (tie) - Coachella, California

All the way on the other side of the U.S., in Coachella, California, the town's residents have a median income of $28,100 and a median auto-loan debt amount of $$18,383. That's a 65 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 17 (tie) - Douglas, Georgia

Douglas, Georgia residents are in a similar boat owing a median amount of $21,198 and having a median income of $32,604.

No. 17 (tie) - Mercedes, Texas

Residents of the town of Mercedes, halfway between McAllen and Brownsville, Texas, have $18,696 in median auto-loan debt. The town's median income is $28,792. That's good for a 65 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 13 - San Juan, Texas

San Juan, Texas, which is next to Pharr, has residents with a debt-to-income ratio of 66 percent. Its residents have median auto-loan debt of $20,514 and a median income of $31,191.

No. 12 (tie) - Willis, Texas

The city one hour north of Houston has a median amount of $21,067 in auto-loan debt. Mission's median income is $31,250. Its debt-to-income ratio is 67 percent.

No. 12 (tie) - Cedartown, Georgia

Cedartown is out in West Georgia nearly to the Alabama state line. Its residents have a median amount of $18,319 in median auto-loan debt. Cedartown's median income is $27,189. Its debt-to-income ratio is 67 percent.

No. 12 (tie) - Rio Grande City, Texas

Rio Grand City sits (you guessed it) along the Rio Grande in South Texas where the median auto-loan debt amount is $22,756 and the median income is $33,805. That's a 67 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 12 (tie) - Big Spring, Texas

Residents of the town of Big Spring, whose closest big town neighbor is Midland, Texas, have a median amount of $23,486 in auto-loan debt. The town's median income is $35,164. That's good for a 67 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 8 (tie) - Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville Sabal Palms

Photo courtesy of the Brownsville CVB

Residents of Brownsville, right on the South Texas coast, have a median auto-loan debt amount of $19,685. The residents' median income is $29,003. That's a 68 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 8 (tie) - Alice, Texas

Alice, Texas is the seat of Jim Wells County and sits just west of Corpus Christi. Its residents have a median auto-loan debt amount of $24,116 and a median income of $29,003. That equates to a 68 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 8 (tie) - Lake Placid, Florida

Located just south of Sebring International Raceway, Lake Placid's residents also have a 68 percent auto-loan debt-to-income ratio. They earn a median amount of $23,125 each year and have $15,672 in auto-loan debt. It is worth noting that the figure is the lowest amount of auto-loan debt of any resident group on this list.

No. 5 (tie) - San Luis, Arizona

Sitting on the U.S.-Mexico border, San Luis residents have a median income of $28,337. They have a median amount of $20,578 in auto-loan debt. That's a 68 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 5 (tie) - Cordele, Georgia

Those that live in the self-described Watermelon Capital of the World has a median income of $25,522 but owe a median amount of $18,624 in auto-loan debt. That's a 73 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 3 - Donna, Texas

Residents of the city of Donna have a median auto-loan debt of $21,305 and median income of $26,870. The Hidalgo County city has a debt-to-income ratio of 79 percent.

No. 2 - Dahlonega, Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Photo courtesy of Explore Georgia, Geoff Johnson

The city that was home to America's first gold rush it under water when it comes to auto loans. The median auto-loan debt of residents is $18,504 while the median income is just $22,338. That's and 83 percent debt-to-income ratio.

No. 1 - Bastrop, Louisiana

The city of Bastrop, Louisiana takes the (tarnished) crown in this survey, with median auto-loan debt of $18,485 and median income of $22,021. That's good for an 84 percent debt-to-income ratio.

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Vonlane typically runs luxury bus service to multiple high-priority locations in Texas and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Vonlane

Texas-based luxury bus company Vonlane is back on the road following the winter storm, offering limited routes to travelers among Houston, Dallas, and Austin.

"Upon conducting road tests around the state, we are confident that we can now deliver our normal exceptional travel experience," the Dallas-based company said in a February 19 email to customers.

A quick check of the schedule online shows it's possible to book one-way and roundtrip travel from the Houston Downtown Hyatt Regency to Dallas Doubletree at Love Field or the Austin Hyatt Regency, beginning Friday, February 19.

Rates are $105 each way.

Routes to and from Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City are not yet available.

Vonlane buses are operating with a number of COVID-19 protocols, including blocked seats for social distancing. Face masks and temperature checks are required.

Vonlane launched its high-end bus service in 2014 to cater to business travelers. Each bus, which holds fewer than two dozen passengers, features amenities like WiFi, satellite TV and radio, snack and drink service, and leather seats.

Reservations can be booked online, and may be canceled and fully refunded up to 24 hours before departure.


The original version of this story can be found on AutomotiveMap's sister site, CultureMap.

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The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes to a dealership near you later this quarter.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is the V8-powered Wrangler y'all have been asking for. Now we know how much 470 horsepower under the hood will cost you - $73,500 - and that's before taxes, fees, and any dealership markup.

With typical Wrangler Rubicon looks on the outside, the Rubicon 392's big selling point is its engine. The 6.4-liter V8 can get from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep is equipping the Rubicon 392 with a 21.5-gallon fuel tank to help with the thirsty engine's range. To save on fuel, the Rubicon 392 uses cylinder deactivation to switch into four-cylinder mode when the V8 isn't needed.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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The noise out back is courtesy of a two-mode performance exhaust. A functional air scoop feeds the engine and keeps it cool.

All that power requires a stronger frame than the typical Wrangler has. It gets upgraded frame rails, improved cast-iron steering knuckles, and beefier front upper control arms. Stopping power comes from the SUV's larger-than-usual brakes - the Rubicon 392 has 14-inch rotors instead of the Rubicon's typical 13.4-inchers. A 2.0-inch lift is standard.

Jeep has given the model an Off-Road Plus button that lets you lock the rear of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 while it's in four-wheel drive high gear. This functionality will prove especially helpful to desert trekking enthusiasts who get slippery sand under the tires but have to keep up their forward motion so they don't sink and get stuck.

It's also Moab-ready. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 doesn't have the Rock-Trac transfer case that's in the typical Rubicon, but it makes up for it with the availability of low-end torque courtesy of the new V8. Add in the standard Select-Trac transfer case, locking rear differentials, and front sway bar disconnect and adventuring on rocks just became more manageable.

The entire rig rides on 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires that sit at all four corners one 17-inch beadlock-capable tires.

Jeep has given the SUV 11 features that are normally options on Wrangler, nine color choices for buyers to pick from, and bronze colored accents. At the center of the dashboard is an n8.4-inch infotainment screen that allows Jeep Off-Road Pages to be viewed.

Mopar will offer factory-based accessories with the model.

The new Jeep is expected to arrive at dealerships in the first quarter of this year.

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