Special Report

The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive

25. Pennsylvania
> Total operating cost:
$3,470
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 819 (19th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.85 (12th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,304 (22nd highest)

Total state and federal excise taxes on gasoline in Pennsylvania, at 70 cents per gallon, were the highest in the nation. The tax rate helped raise the cost of fuel to $2.85 per gallon, which was the 12th highest nationwide. Drivers in the state added an average of 9,428 miles to their vehicles per year, among the shortest distances travelled annually in the country per vehicle. This helped keep annual gas expenditure in the state slightly below average.The average costs of repair and maintenance, on the other hand, were more expensive in Pennsylvania than in most other states.

24. Alaska
> Total operating cost:
$3,474
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,069 (6th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $3.47 (2nd highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,410 (17th highest)

As of the middle of July, Alaska had the second-highest gas price after only Hawaii, and the state was one of only seven where gas prices exceeded $3.00 per gallon. The state is a major source of crude oil for the nation. However, most of the crude is exported, and the demand for refined petroleum products such as gasoline is low in Alaska compared to other states, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). On average, each vehicle in Alaska added just 6,170 miles annually, the lowest nationwide. The average Alaskan vehicle got 12.59 miles to the gallon, the second least efficient average in the country.

ALSO READ: The 10 Most Oil-Rich States

23. Tennessee
> Total operating cost:
$3,474
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 839 (22nd lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.51 (5th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,263 (23rd highest)

Relatively low taxes and a single petroleum refinery contributed to the Tennessee’s low gas price of $2.51 per gallon, the fifth cheapest nationwide. Tennessee car owners drove 13,035 miles annually in their cars, which is roughly 1,300 miles more than the average American driver. Partially as a result, the average gas expenditure in the state was slightly higher than in most states. Nearly 84% of workers in Tennessee commuted alone by car, truck, or van, the third highest percentage in the country. This could have contributed to the above-average annual distance travelled in the state.

22. Montana
> Total operating cost:
$3,604
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,517 (the highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.82 (14th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,886 (2nd highest)

The average car insurance costs accounted for 52.3% of the overall costs of operating a vehicle in Montana, higher even than the annual gas expenditure. Only four other states had higher insurance costs than gas costs. A range of factors can contribute to the high insurance costs. There were 22.6 fatalities on the road in the state, the highest rate in the country. In addition, Montana legislators have not passed very many driver safety laws, including texting while driving prohibitions and primary seatbelt laws — drivers cannot be penalized for not wearing their seat belts unless they are stopped for other offenses. Not only does this likely increase the risk level, but also insurance companies are less likely to move to the state — and with fewer providers, costs tend to rise.

ALSO READ: 10 States With the Most Hate Groups

21. Massachusetts
> Total operating cost:
$3,621
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 745 (6th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.76 (20th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,460 (15th highest)

Massachusetts drivers reported the nation’s lowest incidence of fatalities on the road, at just 4.9 per 100,000 people. And while a higher percentage of drivers had insurance than in every other state, insurance premiums were still above average. Massachusetts residents could likely afford the premiums — a typical individual in the state earned $41,324 annually, the third highest median earnings in the country. State residents spent more time commuting than the vast majority of American workers. Commuting by car took an average of 28.6 minutes, the fourth longest commute time in the nation.

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