With summer road trip season kicking off Memorial Day weekend, it’s the perfect time to plan your summer vacation. If you’re wondering which states are best for drivers, look no further. The editors for CarInsurance.com crunched the numbers to determine the best and worst states for drivers in 2022.
- Vermont is the best state for U.S. drivers due to its high-quality roads.
- California is the worst state in the U.S. for drivers because of the Golden State’s high gas prices and poor road quality.
- In Louisiana, the second-worst state for driving, residents pay the highest percentage of annual income on auto insurance in the nation.
- New Hampshire, the second-best state for drivers, has the lowest one-year cost to own a car in the U.S.
Which states offer their residents the best driving experiences?
Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine – three northeastern states – took the top three spots in a CarInsurance.com data analysis of the best states for driving in 2022.
Vermont, with the lowest cost per driver per year – which is a measure that speaks to the quality of roads in the state – and with a smaller number of congested urban interstates, took the top spot for the best state for driving.
New Hampshire, which came in second, scored well for the lowest car-ownership costs to own a car and a lower the low percentage of annual income spent on auto insurance.
David C. MarlettManaging Director of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center at Appalachian State University
“Average automobile insurance premiums vary by state due to population density, quality of infrastructure, the legal environment, fraud and state regulatory system – just to name a handful of factors,” says David C. Marlett
“The insurance market is highly competitive and insurers must accurately base their premium on the exposure subject to state regulations.”
CarInsurance.com regularly conducts research on the best and worst states for driving with previous analyses published in 2021, 2019 and 2018. Over the years, both Utah and Minnesota have ranked among the top states for driving while California has consistently ranked at the bottom.
California came in last, as it has in all the years CarInsurance.com has done its analysis. The Golden State has the highest average gas prices in the nation, a high cost per driver per year due to poor roads, a high cost to own a car and a large number of congested urban interstates.
How were the states ranked in 2022?
CarInsurance.com scored each state and the District of Columbia on the following factors:
- Insurance costs: Percentage of annual income spent on car insurance based on the cost of insurance in each state from Quadrant and the median annual income in each state from the U.S. Census (20% of total weight).
- Traffic fatalities: Deaths per 100,000 people from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (20% of total weight).
- Poor roads: The cost that drivers pay each year for driving on poor roads from the U.S. Department of Transportation (15% of total weight).
- Traffic congestion: Percentage of the state’s urban interstates that experience high traffic congestion with data from the National Transportation Research Nonprofit (15% of total weight).
- Gas prices: Average regular gas prices in April 2022 from AAA (10% of total weight).
- Uninsured drivers: Percentage of uninsured motorists from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (10% of total weight).
- Cost to own a vehicle: Annual cost to own a vehicle from Insurance.com (10% of total weight).
We changed up the methodology a bit this year by increasing the weight of the percentage of uninsured motorists from 5% to 10% as this metric increases the cost of insurance rates. We also removed the average cost of car repairs (5%) as that number is reflected in the cost to own a vehicle with 10% of the total score in 2022’s index.
The best U.S. states for drivers in 2022
Here are the top 10 states for drivers in 2022:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
Some of the states in this year’s list were also part of the Top 10 lists in 2021 and 2019. But Wyoming, which previously placed among the best states, fell out of the top 10 in 2022.
It had a higher number of deaths per 100,000 than in years past, according to the latest numbers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the highest annual cost to own a car in the nation.
The worst U.S. states for drivers in 2022
Here are the states that ranked the worst for drivers in 2022:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
California and Louisiana were the bottom two states in both the 2022 and 2021 reports, and Louisiana ranked lowest in the 2018 analysis. In the 2022 analysis, the data show that Louisiana residents spend the highest percentage of their annual income on auto insurance.
- California has the highest gas prices in the nation as of May 2022, followed by Hawaii and Nevada with Oregon and Washington.
- Mississippi, Wyoming and New Mexico have the highest number of deaths per 100,000 population.
- Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and Montana have the lowest number of congested urban interstates.
- Mississippi has the highest number of uninsured motorists, followed by Washington state and Florida.
- The District of Columbia has the highest number of congested urban interstates, followed by California, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware.
Best and worst states for driving
More goes into car ownership than the price of gas. Your insurance costs, driver safety, driver costs, congestion and uninsured drivers all play a role in driving.
Here is the information for each state and category. You can search the state by entering the name in the box, you can scroll through all the states and you’re able to hit the arrows to see each category’s rankings.
- Rankings – Rank of Best states for driving
- Insurance – % of Annual Income spent on Car Ins (20%)
- Deaths – Deaths per 100K pop (20%)
- Gas price – Gas prices (10%)
- Driver Cost – Cost per driver per year (15%)
- UIM % – % of UIM (10%)
- Ownership Cost – 1-year cost to own a car (10%)
Driving: Best and Worst States Mapped Out
- Alaska (AK)
- Alabama (AL)
- Arizona (AZ)
- Arkansas (AR)
- California (CA)
- Colorado (CO)
- Connecticut (CT)
- Delaware (DE)
- Florida (FL)
- Georgia (GA)
- Hawaii (HI)
- Idaho (ID)
- Illinois (IL)
- Indiana (IN)
- Iowa (IA)
- Kansas (KS)
- Kentucky (KY)
- Louisiana (LA)
- Maine (ME)
- Maryland (MD)
- Massachusetts (MA)
- Michigan (MI)
- Minnesota (MN)
- Mississippi (MS)
- Missouri (MO)
- Montana (MT)
- Nebraska (NE)
- Nevada (NV)
- New Hampshire (NH)
- New Mexico (NM)
- New York (NY)
- New Jersey (NJ)
- North Carolina (NC)
- North Dakota (ND)
- Ohio (OH)
- Oklahoma (OK)
- Oregon (OR)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- Rhode Island (RI)
- South Carolina (SC)
- South Dakota (SD)
- Tennessee (TN)
- Texas (TX)
- Utah (UT)
- Vermont (VT)
- Virginia (VA)
- Washington (WA)
- Washington D.C. (DC)
- West Virginia (WV)
- Wisconsin (WI)
- Wyoming (WY)
Resources & Methodology
CarInsurance’s editors assigned each metric a weight. Weighted rankings were calculated for each state based on the following:
- Percentage of annual income spent on car insurance (20%)
- Deaths per 100K population (20%)
- Gas prices (10%)
- Cost per driver per year to drive in the state (15%)
- Percentage of the state’s urban interstates that are congested (15%)
- Percentage of uninsured motorists (10%)
- Cost to own a vehicle (10%)
The average annual cost of insurance was calculated using 2020 data from Quadrant Information Services to determine auto insurance rates for full coverage.
This includes comprehensive and collision and higher than state minimums for liability coverage, and then we determined the percentage of income spent in each state using U.S. Census data for “Median Household Income by State and Puerto Rico for All Races: 2005–2009 to 2015–2019.”
Note: Some of these data points didn’t include the District of Columbia. In those cases, we gave the district the median rating in the weighted average.
- AAA, “State gas price averages for regular gas.” Accessed January 2023.
- Insurance.com, “Cost to own a car in each state.” Accessed January 2023.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Motorists by State, 2019.” Accessed January 2023.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, “Fatality Facts 2019, state by state.” Accessed January 2023.
- National Transportation Research Nonprofit, “TRIP Interstate Report 2021.” Accessed January 2023.
- U.S. Census, “Median Household Income by State and Puerto Rico for All Races: 2005–2009 to 2015–2019.” Accessed January 2023.
- U.S. Department of Transportation, “Cost per driver per year for poor roads.” Accessed January 2023.