The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive
> Total operating cost: $2,522
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 904 (23rd highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.67 (20th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $900 (2nd lowest)
Car insurance in Ohio costs drivers just $900 annually, the least of any state other than Maine. According to consumer insurance website Insure.com, the low premiums are likely the result of the large number of insurance carriers in state. There are currently more than 650 insurance carriers in Ohio. This relatively large figure creates a competitive environment that can ultimately lead to lower rates.
Ohioans are also saving at the repair shop. Drivers fixing a check engine light alert end up paying $356 for parts and labor on average, the third least of any state.
> Total operating cost: $2,524
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,000 (11th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $3.31 (3rd highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,049 (11th lowest)
While Hawaii is one of the most expensive places to live, it is actually one of the least expensive states to drive in. Although the price of a gallon of gas is more expensive in Hawaii than nearly any other state, Hawaiians drive so little that a year’s worth of gas is relatively inexpensive. The typical state resident drives just 7,305 miles annually, far less than the 9,633 miles Americans drive nationwide. As a result, the average cost of a year’s worth of gas in Hawaii is just $1,071 per car, the least of any state other than Montana.
> Total operating cost: $2,533
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,102 (7th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.92 (8th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $935 (4th lowest)
While at $2.92 per gallon the average price of gas in Idaho is relatively high, drivers in the state ultimately spend less at the pump than most drivers in the country. The average car in Idaho uses just about 407 gallons of gas annually, far less than the 528 gallon national average. As a result, the average cost of a year’s worth of gas is just $1,189 per car, the sixth least of any state.
That Idaho residents use less fuel may actually be hurting the state’s transportation infrastructure because of the lower collected gas tax. To offset a multi-million dollar transportation funding shortfall, the Idaho state legislature recently increased its gas tax by 7 cents a gallon and began charging hybrid and electric vehicles a $75 annual fee. Idaho was one of four states heavily dependent on gas taxes to enact such fees on hybrid vehicles in 2015.
> Total operating cost: $2,594
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,168 (5th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.67 (23rd lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $989 (8th lowest)
Iowa is one of the most affordable states for car repairs. The average cost of fixing problem that triggers a check engine light comes to $358 in parts and labor, the fifth least of any state. Drivers can also get insured for relatively little. The average insurance premium in Iowa is just $989, more than $300 less than the $1,325 national average.
Iowa is one of the more rural states, and residents may have more need to drive than in much of the country. There are also 1,168 vehicles for every 1,000 Iowa residents, more vehicles per capita than in all but four other states.
> Total operating cost: $2,596
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 933 (17th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.71 (22nd highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $912 (3rd lowest)
The average car insurance premium in Wisconsin costs just $912, the third lowest of any state. According to consumer insurance website Insure.com, Wisconsin has a fairly competitive insurance market which ultimately keeps rates down.
Wisconsin drivers also tend to save at the repair shop. The average cost of having a check engine light assessed and repaired is just $357, the fourth lowest nationwide. Although the average state resident spends a similar amount on gas as the average American does annually, Wisconsin is still one of the least expensive places to drive.