Special Report

Worst Cities to Drive

Source: blvdone / Shutterstock.com

5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
> Traffic fatalities: 7.4 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 30.7 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.2
> Avg. gas price: $2.96 per gallon

California is notorious for high gas prices, and its largest city is no exception. At $2.96 per gallon, the average cost of gas in Los Angeles is higher than in all but two other U.S. metro areas.

As one of the largest cities in the United States, Los Angeles has more cars on the road than all but one other metro area. More than 5 million vehicles are used to commute.

Source: Allentownrocks / Wikimedia Commons

4. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ
> Traffic fatalities: 10.1 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 27.9 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.1
> Avg. gas price: $2.41 per gallon

Traffic is a major problem in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro area. The typical commuter spends about 71 hours each year sitting in traffic, the highest average delay time among U.S. metro areas. Such delays account for an average of nearly 34 gallons of wasted fuel annually.

Despite the nation-leading traffic delays, some 12.8% of workers living in the area arrive to work in under 10 minutes each day, on par with the comparable share of commuters nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
> Traffic fatalities: 7.0 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 27.5 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.0
> Avg. gas price: $2.74 per gallon

Owning a car in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area is safe but very costly. There were 7.0 road traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents, one of the lower rates among metro areas.

However, driving in the area is quite the financial burden. A gallon of gas costs $2.74 on average, 10th highest price in the nation. Also, commuters lose 29 gallons annually due to traffic jams, the second highest loss among U.S. metro areas.

Source: Thinkstock

2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
> Traffic fatalities: 6.1 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 31.8 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.0
> Avg. gas price: $2.85 per gallon

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin is one of the most populous metro areas in the country, which means many drivers are crowding the streets and highways each day. Drivers take an average of 31.8 minutes to get to work, the 10th longest commute among metro areas.

Those lengthy commutes, combined with the Windy City’s high gas prices, can really be a drain on drivers’ wallets. Gas costs an average of $2.85 per gallon in the Chicago metro area, the fifth most expensive price in the country.

Source: Thinkstock

1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Traffic fatalities: 5.2 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 33.6 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 0.9
> Avg. gas price: $2.97 per gallon

Gas prices tend to be high in California, and San Francisco is no exception. Gas in the San Francisco metro area costs an average of $2.97 per gallon, the most of any U.S. metro area except the San Jose metro area. High gas prices are especially costly to area drivers as delays due to traffic jams account for an average of 27 wasted gallons of fuel per year per driver, one of the higher totals in the U.S.

Car theft is also a major problem for motorists in the Bay Area. There are about 640 car thefts for every 100,000 residents per year, more than six times the national rate.