Wyoming is the most expensive state in the US to be a driver, with an average cost of $2705 per month according to a recent BankRate report, mostly because drivers have to spend $1588 every month just on gasoline (apparently all those wide open spaces take a while to drive across). BankRate compiled average repair, insurance, and gasoline costs for drivers in each state to gauge how much drivers have to spend even if doesn’t delve into the driving patterns behind those costs.
Iowa has lowest while Wyoming costs and cheapest insurance
After Wyoming, the most expensive states for drivers were Louisiana ($2555), Florida ($2516), Mississippi ($2487), and New Jersey ($2421) although high insurance premiums made up most of he costs in Louisiana and New Jersey. Iowa was the cheapest state for drivers, with an average cost of $1942 per month and the lowest average insurance at $315 per month, followed by Ohio ($1973) and Illinois ($1999), with every other state coming in above $2000 per month.
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While it makes sense to include repairs in the cost of ownership, the variance between states just wasn’t that much. Every state and Washington D.C. fell between $300 and $400 per month except for Vermont where drivers spend $270 per month on average.
‘Lower costs’ really reflect less driving in some places
The lowest gas costs in the country were in Washington D.C. ($618 per month), followed by New York ($713), and Alaska ($730) which raises an important caveat about BankRate’s research: it isn’t looking at the cost of gasoline but the average amount that a driver pays for gas every month. So even though Alaska has the highest gas prices in the country it also has one of the lowest rates of gas consumption. We’re probably seeing the same effect in New York and DC where the cost of driving (gas, tolls, parking) means that people do less of it. In Wyoming, choosing not to drive or to drive less isn’t as realistic an option as it is in New York.
It does seem odd that BankRate doesn’t include the cost of parking (which is exorbitant in some urban centers), toll roads, or vehicle taxes, so the rankings should probably be taken as a rough guide for relative costs.