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Press Room: The best and worst states for driving 2016

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(Foster City, Calif.—June 14, 2016) -- A new study ranked the best and worst states for driving and found that California is the worst place to drive in the US and Utah and Minnesota are the best.

States that fared well had high scores for favorable road conditions, as well as cheap car insurance, gas and repair costs, and fewer traffic fatalities and hours of commuter delays.

In Utah, for example, 2 percent of the median household income goes to car insurance, compared to 4 percent in California. A quarter of Utah’s roads are in bad shape, but the majority -- 68 percent -- of California’s are defined as poor/mediocre. California ($586) was second only to New Jersey ($601) for the cost per motorist for road repairs. Utah ($187) was among the least expensive states. California also took the top spot for most expensive gas and for having the longest commuter delays.

Each state was scored on the following factors:

  • Percent of median household income that goes to car insurance
  • Estimated percent of uninsured drivers
  • Annual traffic deaths per 100,000 population
  • Percent of roads in poor/mediocre condition
  • Percent of bridges deemed structurally deficient
  • Estimated extra cost of car repair due to driving on bad roads
  • Average price of a gallon of gasoline
  • Yearly delay, in hours, per auto commuter in state’s most congested city
  • Number of federally designated byways (the umbrella term for the collection of 150 distinct and diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation that includes the National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads) was used as a tie-breaker

Other key findings:

  • Poor road conditions: Connecticut and Illinois have the highest percentage of roads in bad shape, both with 73 percent, followed by Wisconsin with 71 percent. Indiana (17%) and Georgia (19%) have the least, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Car repair costs due to damage from poor roads: New Jersey has the highest price, $601, followed by California with $586. Georgia’s cost is just a fraction of those, at $60, the least expensive in the nation, followed by Florida at $128, according to the DOT.
  • Commuter delay per year: California leads the nation in longest commuter delay in hours per year, at 80 hours, followed by New Jersey and New York, both with 74 hours. North Dakota drivers have the shortest delay, 10 hours, followed by Wyoming, with 11, according to the “Urban Mobility Scorecard” research report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX.
  • Percent of annual median income spent on car insurance: Michigan and Louisiana checked in at the first and second spots, respectively, for highest percentage, both at nearly 7 percent. Michigan’s average annual car insurance rate is $3,535; annual median household income is $52,005. In Louisiana, the average rate per year is $2,819; median income is $42,406. Hawaii (average rate, $1,095; median income, $71,223) was the lowest at 1.54 percent, followed by New Hampshire (average rate, $1,514; median income, $73,397) at 2 percent.

To see the full report and methodology, visit “Best and worst states for driving.

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