The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive

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25. Colorado
> Total operating cost:
$3,009
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 927 (20th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.63 (13th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,393 (15th highest)

Colorado has some of the cheaper gas in the country. It is one of the more urban states, and residents drive less than those in the majority of states. The average motorist spends just about $1,200 on fuel for each car annually, roughly $250 less than the national figure. Colorado’s gas tax is currently 22 cents per gallon, which may change in the near future as members of the state government seek new sources of funding for crucial repairs to Colorado’s highway infrastructure.

Colorado residents spend more at the repair shop than most Americans. The average cost of fixing a check engine light is $416, among the most of any state. For a year of driving, car insurance, and a car repair, Colorado motorists spend $3,009 on average, less than the $3,164 national figure.

24. Arkansas
> Total operating cost:
$3,018
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 943 (16th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.50 (3rd lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,345 (18th highest)

Arkansas is one of 10 states in which more than 40% of residents live in rural areas, likely making driving more of a necessity than in most of the country. The average motorist in Arkansas drives 16,111 miles each year, about 2,000 more than the 14,132 the average American drives.With relatively inexpensive gas, however, Arkansas drivers spend less on fuel than most Americans. A year’s worth of gas in the state costs $1,282 on average, about $170 less than the corresponding national figure. Unlike many states, driving expenses in Arkansas are not likely to rise in the near future. Earlier this year, Governor Asa Hutchinson opposed suggestions from a highway funding working group to increase fuel taxes and announced a new funding plan that includes no such tax hikes.

23. Pennsylvania
> Total operating cost:
$3,027
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 823 (17th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.85 (12th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,305 (21st highest)

Pennsylvania residents drive far less than most Americans. The average motorist in the state drives just 11,203 miles annually, the fourth fewest vehicle miles per driver in the country. Gas, however, is relatively expensive, and the average motorist spends $1,341 on fuel per car annually, only slightly less than the national average.

For other driving expenses, Pennsylvania motorists spend a similar amount as drivers nationwide. The average insurance premium is $1,305, and the average cost of fixing a check engine light $381 — each within $20 of the corresponding national figure. The total cost of owning and operating a motor vehicle in the state for a year is $3,027, about $140 less than what the average American spends.

22. Utah
> Total operating cost:
$3,028
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 752 (5th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $3.03 (6th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,061 (14th lowest)

Utah has some of the most expensive gas in the country. There are just 752 vehicles per 1,000 state residents, the fifth lowest such proportion. However, families are larger in Utah than in any other state, which is likely one reason for the low vehicle count. The average Utah driver actually travels 19,327 miles a year, the fifth most of any state. A year of fuel costs drivers $1,559 a year for each car on average, one of the highest fuel expenditures in the country.

Utah’s roads are fairly safe and in good shape. There are relatively few motor vehicle deaths per million miles traveled, and just 2.4% of roads are in poor condition. This may explain why the average insurance premium is just $1,061, about $300 less than the national average.

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21. Wyoming
> Total operating cost:
$3,028
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,426 (2nd highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.74 (19th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,421 (14th highest)

No state drives more than Wyoming. There are 1,426 motor vehicles per 1,000 Wyoming residents, the second highest proportion in the country. The average motorist drives 22,306 miles a year, the most of any state and over 8,000 more miles than the average American. The average motorist spends $1,180 on gas per car annually, far less than the $1,452 national figure. However, as nearly half of all residents have a second vehicle, drivers likely spend far more on gas in a year.

In addition to having more cars per capita, Wyoming also has more accidents. There are 159 motor vehicle deaths per million miles traveled, the second most of any state. This may be one reason behind Wyoming’s expensive insurance. The average premium is $1,421, about $100 more than the national average.