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The most and least expensive states for car ownership

Study analyzes five monthly cost elements associated with owning a car including maintenance, insurance, gas and more

Wyoming is the most expensive state to own a car, with  $1,140.89 spent monthly on average. Not only does Wyoming have the second-highest average monthly car payment at $636.00, but residents also have to drive more than in any other state to get to where they are going. 

On average, people in Wyoming drive a little over 1,900 miles monthly. When you factor in gas, insurance, and other expenses, Wyomingites spend 20% of their monthly paycheck on their vehicles alone.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including car notes. Texas has the highest average monthly car payment out of any state in the U.S. at $662.00, before factoring in fuel and insurance.

Every year, Texans drive 260 billion miles — second only to California, though Texas find some relief at the pump, as the state has the lowest gas prices nationwide at $3.00 per gallon.

The top four cheapest states to own a car are in New England, starting with Massachusetts. The average cost of owning a vehicle in Massachusetts is $799, or only 11% of most people’s average monthly income. 

Part of this is due to the state’s insurance rates; on average, residents in Massachusetts only pay $67.00 monthly to insure their vehicles. People in Massachusetts also drive far less than Southern drivers at 913 miles monthly, meaning they do not have to worry about gas prices as much.

The majority of people putting 20% or more of their paycheck toward their vehicle expenses are overwhelmingly in the South, with Mississippi topping that list.

Mississippians devote almost 27% of their monthly income to keeping their cars on the road. On average, people in Mississippi spend $206.53 monthly on gas and cover more than 1,600 miles per month, second only to Wyoming in driving mileage. Nevertheless, the median household income in Mississippi is approximately $49,000 — almost $20,000 less than Wyoming’s. Consequently, the increasing costs of owning and maintaining a car appear to disproportionately impact people in rural areas.

Unsurprisingly, states with more walkable cities and metropolitan areas fare better when it comes to car expenses. For instance, New Yorkers only allocate about 16% of their monthly income to their cars. On average, residents in New York drive far less than those in other corners of the country at only 700 miles monthly. Even with high car insurance prices (nearly $286.00 monthly for many residents), New Yorkers still save at the pump by being able to get to places on foot.

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