Special Report

The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive

10. Georgia
> Total operating cost:
$3,987
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 779 (9th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.65 (14th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,519 (13th highest)

Gas in Georgia cost an average of $2.65 a gallon, 13 cents cheaper than the national average. Despite the relatively low gas price, the total annual gas expenditure per vehicle was higher than in most states. Drivers in Georgia travelled an average of 14,055 miles a year, farther than drivers in all but two other states. Consequently, at an average of $2,036, annual gas costs for motorists in Georgia was about $200 more than it was across the rest of the country. Additionally, at $1,519, average insurance premiums were also about $200 more than the national average.

9. Texas
> Total operating cost:
$4,030
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 763 (7th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.56 (9th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,449 (16th highest)

According to the EIA, Texas leads the nation in both petroleum production and consumption. There are 27 petroleum refineries in the state, many of which yield high quantities of gasoline. As one of the nation’s major petroleum hubs, it is perhaps no surprise that gas is cheap compared to most states. Gas cost $2.56 per gallon as of the middle of July, the ninth lowest average gas price. Cheap fuel does not discourage consumption. The average driver in Texas uses 846 gallons of fuel a year, the fourth highest level nationwide.

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8. Louisiana
> Total operating cost:
$4,041
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 856 (25th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.54 (6th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,774 (3rd highest)

While the overall cost of owning a car in Louisiana was relatively high, not every expense component cost more than average. The state is home to a great many refineries, and as a result the cost of a gallon of gas was just $2.54, the sixth lowest average gas price in the country. Other expenses more than offset any money Louisiana drivers saved in gas costs. The average insurance premium drivers paid was $1,774 per year, third highest in the country. Repair costs were also high in the state, with the average driver spending $262 on engine and emissions system-related repairs, eighth most of all states.

7. Wyoming
> Total operating cost:
$4,059
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,425 (2nd highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.81 (15th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,371 (19th highest)

It cost the average Wyoming driver about $4,059 every year to operate a vehicle, about $500 more than it cost the average American. In a state with approximately 582,600 residents, there were more cars than there were people. While the overall cost of owning a car in the state is high, repairs are extremely inexpensive. Drivers spent an average of just $309 per year on parts and labor when their check engine light came on, the lowest rate in the country. Gas was the primary reason for high driving costs across the state. A motorist in Wyoming spent an average of $2,379 a year on gas, the third highest figure in the country and significantly more than the national average of $1,840.

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6. West Virginia
> Total operating cost:
$4,114
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 784 (10th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.78 (19th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,716 (5th highest)

The average driver in West Virginia spent $1,716 each year on car insurance, the fifth highest premium of any state. The high incidence of accident-related fatalities likely raised insurance rates. There were 17.9 motor vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 West Virginians, the fourth highest rate nationwide. Frequent driving increased the probability of accidents and also raised annual gas expenditure for drivers. A typical motorist added 13,233 miles to their vehicles each year, the 10th greatest distance compared to other states. Also, drivers in the state spent more than $2,000 on average on fuel, one of the higher annual costs in the country.

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