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CarInsurance.com’s Automotive Misery Index ranks where driving costs most

Sept. 12, 2012 (Foster City, CA) -- The costs of gas and insurance vary dramatically across the country, with drivers in some states paying $2,000 a year more to keep a car on the road, according to a new analysis from CarInsurance.com.

The “Automotive Misery Index” looks at the geographical variables in car ownership.

“A new Honda Accord costs pretty much the same in Bakersfield or Biloxi,” said CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups. “But keeping it on the road will hurt a lot more in Mississippi.”

The Automotive Misery Index weighs each state’s household income against the cost of gas, number of miles driven and price of full coverage for a 2012 Honda Accord EX. Each factor can greatly skew the cost of car ownership. For example:

n  On Sept. 1, a gallon of regular gas cost $3.60 in South Carolina and $4.34 in Hawaii. The national average was $3.83.

n  Motorists in Wyoming rack up more than 20,000 miles a year, on average, twice as much as Alaskans do. The national average was 14,133.

n  Household incomes as measured by the 2010 Census range from $36,821 in Mississippi to $66,187 in Connecticut. The national average was $50,022.

n  Insurance costs range from $889 in Maine to $2,589 in Louisiana. Even within Louisiana, the same driver in the same car could pay as little as $1,874 or as much as $3,530, depending on the insurance rates in that ZIP code. The national average was $1,479.

The 10 states where automotive expenses consumed the highest percentage of household income were:

Rank  State               Gas & Insurance   Income    Misery Index

1.        Mississippi      $4,287                  $36,821   11.6%

2.        Oklahoma       $4,816                  $45,018   10.7%

3.        Louisiana        $4,504                  $42,813   10.5%

4.        West Virginia  $4,292                  $41,999   10.2%

5.        Montana          $4,005                 $41,286    9.7%

6.        Georgia           $4,268                 $44,082    9.7%

7.        Michigan         $4,274                  $46,597    9.2%

8.        Wyoming         $4,828                 $52,848    9.1%

9.        Kentucky         $3,860                 $42,302    9.1%

10.       Arkansas       $3,411               $37,856    9.0%

The 10 states where gas and insurance hurt the least were:

Rank   State                    Gas & Insurance Income    Misery Index

51.       New Hampshire   $2,932                $65,948    4.4%

50.       Alaska                  $2,765                $60,409    4.6%

49.       Connecticut          $3,266                $66,187    4.9%

48.       Colorado              $2,955                $58,647    5.0%

47.       Washington          $2,976                $58,821    5.1%

46.       Massachusetts     $3,087                $60,843    5.1%

45.       New Jersey          $3,301                $64,693    5.1%

44.       Maryland              $3,347                $64,635    5.2%

43.       Virginia                 $3,412                $60,931    5.6%

42.       Utah                      $3,314                $58,122    5.7%

Mississippians would shell out 11.6 percent of their household incomes to keep a 2012 Honda Accord EX full of gas and fully insured.

“Mississippi is a rural state, so people drive a lot,” said Toups. “It also has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers, which makes car insurance that much more expensive.”

At the other end of the scale is New Hampshire, where incomes are higher and distances are smaller. Drivers there would spend just $2,932, about 4.4 percent of their household incomes, to keep the same car on the road.


CarInsurance.com calculated costs for a 2012 Honda Accord EX four-door sedan with an EPA combined fuel economy rating of 27 miles per gallon. Gasoline prices came for AAA Fuel Gauge Report on Sept. 1, 2012. Household income data were derived from the 2010 U.S. Census. Annual mileage per licensed driver was supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Insurance rates were averaged from six carriers in 10 ZIP codes per state for a 2012 Honda Accord driven by a 40-year-old male with no violations or accidents commuting 12 miles to work, carrying a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage, bodily injury liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and $50,000 in property damage liability coverage. Report was commissioned by CarInsurance.com from Quadrant Information Services.

Average rates are for comparative purposes. Actual rates will depend on individual driver factors.

Read the full article about the Automotive Misery Index at http://www.carinsurance.com/automotive-misery-index.aspx.

About CarInsurance.com

CarInsurance.com has been offering drivers expert advice about car insurance and how to shop for it since 2003. Using a combination of industry expertise and information drawn from thousands of online quotes delivered without obligation each month, CarInsurance.com is a source for unbiased answers and data about what consumers should expect from an insurance policy. The site lets consumers compare multiple car insurance quotes online and purchase a policy online in minutes. CarInsurance.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.


Press contact:
Andrew Heilman