Wide-open spaces may be great for raising horses and cattle, but they're costly for car owners in these days of high gas prices. That shot Wyoming to the top of the list of most expensive states to own a vehicle.
The latest BankRate.com survey on the cost of car ownership, which looks at gasoline, repair and insurance prices on a state-by-state basis, notes that the average Wyoming resident drives 68% more than the average American, resulting in a whopping $1,588 annual gasoline bill.
Other costs of owning a car in the Cowboy State are pretty reasonable, with repair costs averaging just $324 annually and insurance expenses averaging $792. Still, when you add it all up, driving a car in Wyoming is going to cost nearly 40% more than driving in Iowa, the cheapest state to own a car, according to BankRate.com.
To come up with its rankings of the most and least costly states for car ownership, BankRate's second-annual survey crunches car repair data provided by CarMD.com, gasoline price data from GasBuddy.com, insurance data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and auto use data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The most cost-effective states to operate a car are clustered in the Midwest, according to the 2014 ranking. In Iowa, Ohio and Illinois, operating costs dip below $2,000 annually, thanks to a combination of low repair and gas prices, as well as reasonable premiums for auto insurance. Specifically, average costs of repairs, insurance and gas add up to just $1,942 in Iowa, $1,973 in Ohio and $1,999 in Illinois. Other inexpensive states for car ownership include Idaho ($2,001) and Wisconsin ($2,108).
In addition to Wyoming, where the total cost of operating a car comes in at $2,705, other high-cost states include Louisiana ($2,555), where the average insurance premium ranks the highest in the nation at $1,277. Florida residents suffer with both high insurance rates ($1,124 on average) and higher-than-average gasoline expenses ($1,015), causing Floridians to pay an average of $2,516 to operate a car.
Mississippi ($2,487) and New Jersey ($2,421) are also among the five most costly states to own a car, thanks to high repair and insurance costs in New Jersey and high gasoline expenses in Mississippi.
To see where your state ranks, check out BankRate's 50-state ranking.