The cost of driving a car in one state compared to another can differ by more than $2,000 a year. In states where accidents are prevalent, insurance rates are often higher. In western states, gas prices tend to be higher. And in states with bad road conditions, vehicles require more frequent repairs. All these factors contribute to overall yearly driving costs.
To identify the most and least expensive states in which to drive, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the annual cost of owning, operating, and repairing a vehicle. The calculation includes annual fuel expenditures, the average cost to fix a check engine light — which was used as proxy for annual repair cost — and the average premium for a full-coverage insurance policy.
The cost of insurance varies much more than the other two factors, with the annual cost of full-coverage differing by as much as $1,930 between the top and bottom states. With only two exceptions, in states where it is most expensive to drive, high insurance premiums are the main contributor to the high expenditure.
Average yearly car expenditures include $1,325 for insurance and $1,210 for gas. In addition, the average cost of repairing a check engine light is $387. In total, the average U.S. motorist pays $2,923 a year to drive a car. Generally, the sum of these costs is higher in Southern states, while it is relatively cheap to drive in Midwestern states.
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