Surprising Conclusions in Rating of State Car Ownership Costs

PHOTO: Bankrate.com released a report of the states that are cheapest and most expensive to own and operate a car.

Georgia is the most expensive state in which to operate an automobile. Oregon is cheapest. And Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain) comes in at number 25, in Bankrate.com's ranking of the 50 states by driving cost.

The national average cost for operating a car is $3,201, according to the survey--the first for Bankrate, a publisher of personal finance information.

For every state, Bankrate took the following variables into account when figuring total cost: median insurance premiums (provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for 2006 to 2010); average repair costs (from CarMD.com); taxes and fees (from the Kelley Blue Book); and average pump prices for gasoline (from government statistics and from GasBuddy.com).

Bankrate did not take depreciation into account, because geography, according to Bankrate, is not a major factor in determining that cost.

Claes Bell, senior analyst at Bankrate, tells ABC News he expects the survey to become an annual exercise.

Were there any surprises? Says Bell, "I wasn't expecting Georgia to top the list. But Georgians drive a lot, thanks in part to Atlanta's being so spread out." Plus, he says, Georgia has the highest state automobile taxes and fees in the nation.

As for Oregon, says Bell, people drive 16 percent fewer miles than the national average. Drivers in Alaska and Hawaii also fall below the average.

Insurance costs are highest in New Jersey ($1,119), lowest in North Dakota ($517). "All states have different laws on car insurance," says Bell. Rural states tend to have lower crime rates, which translates to lower policy costs.

Repair costs don't vary much state to state, he says. "You see a lot greater variance in taxes and fees."

In the ranking below, the total cost of car ownership appears next to the name of each state, followed, in brackets, by the component costs of repairs, taxes/fees, gasoline and insurance.

Seven Most Expensive States

1. Georgia $4,233 [$385 $1,952 $1,129 $767]

2. California $3,966 [$390 $1,809 $980 $786]

3. Wyoming $3,938 [$324 $1,341 $1,643 $630]

4. Rhode Island $3,913 [$371 $1,717 $826 $999]

5. Nevada $3,886 [$364 $1,741 $811 $970]

6. Arizona $3,886 [$362 $1,724 $937 $862]

7. Kentucky $3,626 [$367 $1,443 $1,100 $716]

Seven Least Expensive States

44. Pennsylvania $2,764 [$364 $769 $813 $818]

45. Hawaii $2,705 [$370 $636 $887 $812]

46. Indiana $2,698 [$329 $558 $1,190 $621]

47. Montana $2,660 [$360 $521 $1,118 $661]

48. South Dakota $2,343 [$312 $415 $1,092 $524

49. Alaska $2,227 [$341 $202 $771 $914]

50. Oregon $2,204 [$380 $157 $942 $724]

Click here to see the full report.

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