Special Report

The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive

35. New York
> Total operating cost:
$3,220
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 543 (the lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.93 (9th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,013 (10th lowest)

While driving is cheaper in New York than in most other states, the state had only 543 vehicles per 1,000 residents, the smallest ratio in the country. Many New Yorkers have little need for a car as 18.6% of state residents commuted to work by subway or elevated train, far and away the highest share in the country. This is likely attributable to the millions of state residents who call New York City home and use the city’s intricate network of subways and trains to get around.

34. Missouri
> Total operating cost:
$3,233
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 963 (13th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.55 (7th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,114 (18th lowest)

At $2.55 per gallon, gas in Missouri is nearly 25 cents cheaper than the national average price. However, Missouri drivers spent 53.5% of total driving costs on gas, slightly more than the 52% of total driving costs the average American driver spent on gas. Driving costs in Missouri were further reduced by lower than average insurance premiums. The average driver in Missouri paid $1,114 annually for insurance, about $200 less than the average American.

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33. Kansas
> Total operating cost:
$3,282
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 908 (20th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.60 (12th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,147 (19th lowest)

While the overall cost of operating a vehicle in Kansas was below the national average, owners sustained higher costs for repairs compared to their peers in other states. The average cost of labor for car repairs was $174 per year in the state, the third highest in the nation. Gas cost $2.60 per gallon as of the middle of July — the 12th lowest in the country — and Kansas drivers drove slightly less than most Americans, lowering the total annual gas expenditure. A typical driver in Kansas spent $1,724 on fuel each year versus the national annual average expenditure of $1,839.

32. Oregon
> Total operating cost:
$3,299
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 917 (19th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $3.15 (6th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,211 (22nd lowest)

Gas cost $3.15 per gallon in Oregon as of July 15, the sixth highest gas price nationwide. The state is one of only seven states where gas cost more than $3.00 per gallon.With no oil refineries in Oregon, gas prices in the state largely depend on conditions in California, where the nearest refineries operate. Oregon gas prices rose earlier in the year after a refinery explosion and labor strike caused California oil production to plummet. However, Oregon residents also tend to drive less, which lowers their total gas expenditure. Drivers in the state put less than 9,400 miles on their vehicles per year versus the national average of 11,751.

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31. Maine
> Total operating cost:
$3,310
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 903 (21st highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.79 (17th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $805 (the lowest)

The average Maine car owner spent just $805 on insurance annually, the lowest premium nationwide. According to Insure.com, the absence of major urban centers brings down average insurance costs in the state. The state also reports excellent coverage rates — when more people pay insurance, premiums are more likely to be lower. However, because it is primarily rural, residents in the state drive more. Together with the relatively high gas price of $2.79 per gallon as of July 15, annual average gas expenditure totalled $2,132, the eighth highest gas cost nationwide.