The Most (and Least) Expensive States to Drive

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20. Kentucky
> Total operating cost:
$3,049
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 946 (15th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.68 (24th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,295 (22nd highest)

The cost of owning and operating a car in Kentucky is about the same as the cost across the country as a whole. The average driver pays $390 for having a check engine light fixed and $1,295 on car insurance, both within $30 of the national figures. Compared to the typical American driver, however, Kentucky motorists save some money on gas, paying $1,365 per car for a year’s worth of fuel, about $100 less than the average American pays.

Kentucky is one of the most rural states, and its residents rely more on cars than most Americans. Only 7.5% of residents commute to work by a means other than driving, about half the 14.1% national share.

19. North Dakota
> Total operating cost:
$3,055
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,235 (4th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.65 (16th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,200 (23rd lowest)

Residents of a relatively sparsely-populated state, North Dakotans tend to drive far more than the average American and use more gas. Nationwide, the typical driver covers roughly 14,000 miles in a year. In North Dakota, drivers cover nearly 20,000 miles per year, the third most in the country. Gas, however, is relatively inexpensive in the state. The average annual gas costs per car of $1,435 is roughly in line with the national average of $1,451 per car. There are nearly two vehicles for every licensed driver, however, and many are likely paying this expense for more than one vehicle.

18. Rhode Island
> Total operating cost:
$3,192
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 821 (14th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.75 (17th highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,608 (9th highest)

Rhode Island residents drive relatively little. The average vehicle is driven just 8,878 miles and consumes about 425 gallons of gas a year, each the fifth lowest such figure in the country. As a result, Rhode Island drivers end up spending about $1,167 on fuel per car annually, the third least of any state.

Cars may face more wear and tear in Rhode Island than in most states. Almost 40% of state roads are in poor condition, nearly four times the national share of bad roads and the largest share in the country. Unfortunately, car repairs in Rhode Island cost more than they do in the vast majority of states. Rhode Island drivers also spend heavily on insurance. The average premium costs $1,608 a year, about $300 more than the national average.

17. Massachusetts
> Total operating cost:
$3,208
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 750 (4th lowest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.72 (21st highest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,325 (20th highest)

Residents are less likely to drive to work in Massachusetts than in every state but New York. There are only 750 cars for every 1,000 state residents, fewer than in all but three states. For those who do drive, car ownership is slightly more expensive than it is on average nationwide. In particular, owners spend more on gas per car than owners in the majority of states, at $1,483 per car compared to a national average gas cost of $1,451 per vehicle a year.

16. Delaware
> Total operating cost:
$3,213
> No. of vehicles per 1,000 people: 1,044 (10th highest)
> Avg. price of gas: $2.66 (19th lowest)
> Avg. insurance premium: $1,607 (10th highest)

Delaware motorists drive less than most Americans. The average car in the state is driven 10,021 miles annually, about 1,600 less than the national figure. Delaware vehicles are also among the most fuel-efficient in the country. Drivers in Delaware spend $1,208 a year on gas, among the least of any state.

Insurance in the state, however, is not so cheap. The average premium is $1,607 a year, about $300 more than the national figure. Costly insurance may be partially due to the high frequency of car accidents in Delaware. There are 126 motor vehicle deaths per million miles traveled in the state, more than the 108 deaths per million mile national rate.