Though much of America is more or less homogenous, some states are inherently more hospitable to motorists than others. Ownership costs, including gas prices, insurance premiums and repair costs vary from one part of the country to another, and some states manage to register higher or lower fatal crash and car theft rates, put motorists through longer or shorter average commuting times.
According to a just-released report issued by Bankrate.com in New York City, idyllic Idaho is the country’s most amenable state for drivers, boasting cheap gas and insurance costs, short commute times and low theft rates. On the other hand, the worst state in which to own an automobile is otherwise lovely Louisiana, where motorists pay the highest insurance premiums in the country and are statistically more likely than the norm to be involved in fatal crashes.
A lot of this, it seems, has to do with how densely or sparsely populated an area is, especially with regard to insurance costs, traffic fatalities, car thefts and so on that are most associated with large urban areas. “Population density has a big effect on these rankings,” says Chris Kahn, Bankrate.com’s research and statistics analyst. “The best states for drivers have lots of open spaces, whereas the worst states tend to have people and cars — a bad combination for drivers’ wallets.”
Here’s Bankrate.com’s list of the 10 best states for drivers and reasons why they’re so motorist friendly:
1. Idaho: Low gas and insurance expenses, below-average thefts and short commute times.
2. Vermont: Lowest car theft rates in nation, low insurance and repair costs, low fatality rate, short commute times.
3. Wyoming: Lowest repair costs and shortest commute times in nation, lower than average theft rates.
4. Wisconsin: Low repair and insurance costs, low theft and fatal crash rates and short commute times.
5. Minnesota: Low repair, fuel and insurance costs, low theft rates and short commute times.
6. Maine: Low repair and insurance costs, low theft and fatal crash rates.
7. Iowa: Low repair costs and short commute times.
8. Nebraska: Low repair costs and commute times.
9. South Dakota: Low car-theft rates and insurance premiums, short commute.
10. New Hampshire: Low car thefts and fatal crashes, lower than average fuel, insurance and repair costs.
And the 10 worst states for drivers cited in Bankrate.com’s report are: 1. Louisiana: The nation’s highest car insurance costs and an above-average fatal crash rate.
2. California: Highest car-theft rate in the nation, plus high repair costs and long commute times.
3. Texas: High repair, fuel and insurance costs, high theft rates and the highest traffic fatality rate in the nation.
4. Maryland: The longest commutes in the nation, with high insurance rates, fuel and repair costs and high theft rates.
5. New Jersey: High repair costs and insurance rates and long commute times.
6. Delaware: High repair costs and insurance rates and long commute times.
7. Georgia: Long commute times, high theft rates and expensive repair costs.
8. New York: High fuel, insurance and repair costs and long commute times.
9. Hawaii: High fuel costs, car theft rates and insurance premiums.
10. Washington: High car theft rates, and fuel/repair costs.
Repair costs were attributed to CarMD.com, gas spending was calculated with statistics from the Bureau of Transportation and the Oil Price Information Service and insurance costs were compiled from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Theft statistics came from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and fatal crash rates were from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Commute times were determined from the U.S. Census. Bankrate.com analyzed the statistics and built a standardized ranking that gave each category equal weight.
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