The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive

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45. Alaska
> Total operating cost:
$2,681
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,099 (8th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $3.37 (2nd highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,078 (15th lowest)

Residents of Alaska drive the least of residents of any state. So while gas in the state is among the most expensive in the country, and Alaskan vehicles tend to be less fuel efficient than those in other states, state drivers tend to spend less on gas in a year than most Americans. The average state resident spends just $1,196 on gas per car annually, the seventh least nationwide.

Alaskan roads are relatively dangerous. The state is one of only six in which more than one-fourth of all roads are in poor condition. Also, there are 150 motor vehicle deaths per million miles traveled, 42 more deaths than the national average. Nevertheless, the average insurance premium in the state costs just $1,078, much less than the $1,325 national average.

44. Illinois
> Total operating cost:
$2,705
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 808 (11th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.90 (9th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,035 (10th lowest)

Because Illinois is one of the more urban states, residents may not feel the need to drive as much as residents of other states. The average Illinois vehicle consumes 448 gallons of fuel annually, about 80 gallons less than that of the average American vehicle. Illinois motorists spend $1,298 on gas per car a year, about $150 less than the national average.

Illinois residents also tend to spend less on car insurance and repairs. In the state, the average insurance premium costs $1,035, and the average cost of fixing a check engine light is $372, each some of the lowest such figures in the nation. Overall, the average cost of car maintenance in Illinois is $2,705 a year, the seventh least of any state.

43. South Dakota
> Total operating cost:
$2,725
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,237 (3rd highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.71 (22nd highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,168 (20th lowest)

South Dakota’s population is more than twice as rural as the nation as a whole, and for this reason, residents may have more need for cars than residents nationwide. There are 1,237 vehicles per 1,000 state residents, the third highest proportion in the country. Likely at least in part because many have multiple vehicles, motorists in South Dakota end up spending an average of $1,187 on fuel per car annually, the fifth least of any state. Drivers in the state also tend to spend less on car insurance and repairs than in most of the country. Overall, the average cost to maintain and operate a car for a year in South Dakota is $2,725, far less than the $3,164 it costs the average American.

42. Vermont
> Total operating cost:
$2,749
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 978 (13th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.76 (13th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $942 (6th lowest)

There are just 62 motor vehicle deaths per million miles traveled in Vermont, the second fewest of any state. The low likelihood of road fatalities may be one reason for the relatively affordable car insurance in the state. The average premium costs just $942, far less than the $1,325 national average cost and one of the lowest of all states. When pumping gas or fixing their check engine lights, Vermont residents tend to spend a similar amount as the average American. Overall, the average cost to maintain and operate a vehicle in the state is just $2,749 a year, making Vermont one of the most affordable states for drivers.

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41. New Hampshire
> Total operating cost:
$2,775
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 992 (12th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.67 (22nd lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $941 (5th lowest)

There are 73 motor vehicle deaths per million miles traveled in New Hampshire, 35 fewer than the national average. The low likelihood of accident fatalities may be one reason for the relatively affordable car insurance in the state. The average car insurance premium is just $941, the fifth lowest nationwide.

When fixing their check engine lights and paying for a year’s worth of gas, New Hampshire drivers spend $389 and $1,445 per car on average — similar to the corresponding national average costs. Accounting for car repairs, gas, and insurance, it costs the average New Hampshire driver $2,775 to maintain and operate a vehicle for a year, far less than the $3,164 national average.