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Auto Debt Is Bigger in Texas: Here’s How It Looks Around the Lone Star State

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Auto debt is almost more Texan than going through a Whataburger drive-thru — residents of the Lone Star State carry 44% more auto debt than Americans as a whole.

Per the Federal Reserve, if you take all the money owed for vehicles in Texas and spread it to everyone in the state — regardless of whether they have auto debt — each person with a credit report owes $6,820. If you do the same with everyone in the U.S., each person owes $4,740.

Texan vehicle culture can have far-reaching financial consequences for borrowers. The pressure of a longer and larger auto loan could delay residents from reaching life milestones such as getting a mortgage or retirement. LendingTree researchers took a magnifying glass to auto debt in Texas to see how things look throughout the state.

Key findings

  • On average, Texans with auto debt pay $487 a month per loan, while the outstanding balance on a loan is $19,183.
  • Auto loan originations are 9.9% higher and monthly payments are 13.1% higher in Texas than they are for the U.S. as a whole.
  • Residents of Andrews in western Texas take out the biggest auto loans — $33,644 on average — and have the highest monthly payments at $614 a loan.
  • Less was borrowed — and owed — on vehicles in more urban areas. People who live in cities borrowed an average of $26,622 in loans. Those in large towns borrowed $26,987, while rural Texans borrowed $27,838. Rural Texans pay $26 more a month for each loan than do metropolitan Texans.
  • Among the five largest metropolitan areas — Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio — auto debt is largest in the McAllen metro, where residents owe an average of $21,562 on an average loan origination of $29,779, with an average monthly payment of $520.
How auto debt in Texas compares to the entire U.S.
U.S. Texas Difference
Average Balance per Loan $16,654 $19,183 15.2%
Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan $24,296 $26,702 9.9%
Average Monthly Payment per Loan $430 $487 13.1%
Average Term Lengths (Months) 66 67 1.5%
Average Number of Auto Loans per Person w/ Active Loan(s) 1.4 1.3 -3.7%

Texas auto debt: The highs — and lows

3 cities and towns in texas

Now, we’ll break down the above info even further to show you exactly where these towns and cities are located in Texas.

average balance per loan
average loan origination amount per loan
average monthly payment per loan
average on time payment rate
average term lengths months

Urban vs. rural areas

Auto debt statistics in big metros, small metros and rural communities in Texas
Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months) Average Number of Auto Loans per Person w/ Active Loan(s)
Metropolitan Areas $19,100 $26,622 $484 67 1.3
Micropolitan Areas $19,560 $26,987 $501 67 1.4
Rural Areas $20,252 $27,838 $510 66 1.4
Entire State $19,183 $26,702 $487 67 1.3

Drivers in rural areas of Texas, from the oil fields to the cattle ranches, tend to have higher auto loan balances, origination amounts and payments than those in micropolitan and metropolitan areas;  however, their auto loan terms are slightly shorter. Texas’ big city drivers have fewer car loans per person and lower numbers of auto loan debt, as compared to micropolitan areas.

Generation vs. generation

Auto debt statistics in Texas by generation
Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months) Average Number of Auto Loans per Person w/ Active Loan(s)
Silent Generation $17,066 $25,743 $447 67 1.3
Baby Boomers $18,540 $27,096 $486 67 1.4
Generation X $19,732 $27,710 $503 67 1.4
Millennials $19,043 $25,381 $471 67 1.3

Generation Xers have the most auto debt in Texas, followed by millennials, baby boomers and the silent generation. Generation Xers and baby boomers have more active car loans per person.

State breakdown

While the Lone Star State as a whole apparently likes making car payments, different areas within the state have a greater preference for it. Barring drivers in El Paso, drivers in the far south and west of Texas tend to be in the red — deeper in auto debt — while drivers further north and east are comparatively better off.

Breakdown among largest metros

Austin

Car debt in select towns and cities in the greater metropolitan area of Austin
City Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months)
Austin $16,981 $24,143 $442 66
Buda $20,161 $27,827 $479 69
Cedar Park $17,858 $26,476 $460 67
Georgetown $19,750 $27,822 $483 68
Hutto $18,608 $26,468 $463 68
Kyle $18,061 $25,273 $451 67
Leander $19,319 $26,756 $465 68
Pflugerville $18,808 $26,276 $468 67
Round Rock $18,084 $25,313 $456 67
San Marcos $16,950 $23,116 $430 65

Austin, the capital of Texas, has the lowest auto debt among the five largest Texas metros, with current debt of $17,969 on loans that originated at $25,271 with average monthly payments of $455.

Dallas-Fort Worth

Car debt in select towns and cities in the greater metropolitan area of Dallas-Fort Worth
City Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months)
Arlington $17,213 $24,307 $457 66
Dallas $17,959 $25,204 $477 66
Fort Worth $17,917 $25,064 $467 67
Frisco $19,920 $28,636 $503 67
Garland $17,291 $24,408 $452 67
Grand Prairie $17,993 $25,244 $471 66
Irving $17,747 $24,685 $465 66
McKinney $19,524 $27,377 $480 67
Mesquite $17,354 $24,260 $464 67
Plano $18,043 $26,291 $477 66

The average balance per loan for drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro is $18,580, slightly higher than in Austin. Average monthly payments in the metro are $476, which sits in the middle among the metros being discussed.

Houston

Car debt in select towns and cities in the greater metropolitan area of Houston
City Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months)
Conroe $19,535 $27,466 $489 68
Cypress $20,202 $29,187 $511 67
Galveston $18,305 $25,086 $458 65
Houston $18,556 $26,052 $489 67
Humble $19,793 $27,977 $504 68
Katy $19,154 $27,262 $492 68
Pearland $20,878 $29,923 $527 67
Richmond $21,561 $30,200 $523 67
Spring $20,119 $28,449 $506 67
Sugar Land $19,314 $28,586 $504 66

Drivers in this metro — home to the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the nation — have an average balance per loan of $19,667 on an auto loan origination amount of $27,623 with a payment of $503.

McAllen

Car debt in select towns and cities in the greater metropolitan area of McAllen
City Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months)
Alamo $19,635 $28,497 $511 69
Donna $21,789 $28,453 $514 70
Edinburg $22,357 $30,496 $526 70
Hidalgo $23,728 $30,593 $546 72
McAllen $21,407 $29,998 $515 70
Mercedes $20,714 $30,035 $536 70
Mission $21,278 $29,922 $522 70
Pharr $20,978 $27,940 $503 70
San Juan $21,565 $29,209 $512 71
Weslaco $21,690 $29,643 $524 70

McAllen sits in a necklace of border towns — all with high auto debt. As noted above in our key findings, auto debt is largest in the McAllen metro among these metros.

San Antonio

Car debt in select towns and cities in the greater metropolitan area of San Antonio
City Average Balance per Loan Average Loan Origination Amount per Loan Average Monthly Payment per Loan Average Term Lengths (Months)
Boerne $23,091 $32,241 $538 68
Cibolo $21,349 $29,171 $499 68
Converse $17,923 $25,276 $456 68
Floresville $19,357 $27,864 $504 64
Helotes $21,452 $29,642 $475 70
New Braunfels $20,466 $27,946 $490 68
San Antonio $18,144 $25,428 $465 67
Schertz $19,560 $27,804 $487 68
Seguin $18,328 $24,760 $456 67
Universal City $15,783 $22,603 $420 66

Drivers in this metro sit in the middle among the five largest in the state when it comes to current loan balance. The average balance per auto loan in the metro is $18,620.

Methodology

Using a sample of anonymized Q1 2019 credit reports of LendingTree users who have active auto purchase loans and a Texas ZIP code, researchers mapped the more than 125,000 borrowers and 175,000 representative loans to the Census-designated places, metropolitan statistical areas and micropolitan statistical areas by ZIP code.

Researchers then calculated the averages (mean) across those geographies for current auto loan balance, loan origination amount, monthly payment and term lengths on a per-loan basis, as well as the number of auto loans and on-time payment rates on a per-borrower basis.

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