The 5 best and worst states for drivers

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    If you want to have the best driving experience, live in a state with plenty of open road.

    That seems to be the message from a new ranking by personal finance website Bankrate.com of the best and worst states for drivers.

    Analyst Chris Kahn used cost of driving, safety and overall driving experience to rank the states. Measurements included the cost of gas, insurance and repairs as well as the rate of auto thefts and fatal crashes and the average time spent commuting.

    Commute times and auto theft rates especially worked against states with dense urban areas. For instance, average weekly commuting time in Idaho is 3.25 hours, compared with 4.5 in California.

    "The best states for drivers have lots of wide-open spaces whereas the worst states tend to be filled with people and cars -- a bad combination for driver's wallets," Kahn said.

    You can't do much about gas or insurance costs. But weekly commuting time might be different.

    "See if you can arrange to work at home part of the time," Kahn advises. "You'll be saving time, money and hassle."

    Read on to see which states are best -- and worst -- for drivers.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.