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The Best States to Drive In (and the Worst)

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author photo by Lindsay Martell January 2018

You know the Lone Star state has stellar Tex-Mex cuisine, kickin' music festivals and Blue Bell ice cream, but did you know it tops the list of the best states to drive in? Yup. A new report says so.

WalletHub gathered data from all 50 states to determine the ones with the most positive driving experiences. It looked at four key areas to find the state with the highest marks and the lowest score. The areas included cost of ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, safety and access to vehicles and maintenance.

Don't Mess With Texas

The Lone Star state nabbed the number one spot -- it received high marks for its low cost of vehicle ownership and access to maintenance. Kansas came in second place, Nebraska in third, Iowa in fourth and North Carolina in fifth.

Specifically, Texas ranked high for having the third lowest average gas prices (behind Missouri and Alabama). This is a huge boon for those living there -- no one likes getting gouged at the pump.

Kansas got kudos for being the second best state for traffic. Let's face it, traffic is no good -- it's stressful, it exacerbates road rage and makes us late. WalletHub also found it's pretty expensive -- in fact, it noted that "congestion costs the average driver $1,400 per year in the United States."

Sunny Skies = Problem Roads?

Hawaii may have sunny beaches and the aloha spirit, but it's the worst state for drivers. It ranked last on WalletHub's list for the high cost of car ownership (it ranked dead last in that particular category), traffic woes and access to vehicle management. The state of Washington came in 45th for cost of ownership, but scored better (17 out of 50) for access to car repairs.

The cost of owning a car in Maryland and California made its scores dip, but the Golden State snags first place for access to vehicle maintenance.

As for ways to cut costs if you live in one of the less-than-ideal states for drivers? According to Kevin (Hua) Bai, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, he suggests buying a hybrid electric vehicle, which saves money on brakes, axles and gas cost.

Whether your home is in one of the best states to drive in or one of the not-so-good places, doing what we can to cut costs and stay safe on the roads will always be worth exploration.

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The Best States to Drive In (and the Worst) - Autotrader