10 Places It’s Cheap to Own a Car Right Now


With gas prices so low, we were curious which states were the absolute cheapest for car ownership right now. Here's what we found.

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6 min read

Quoted wondered: In which of our 50 beautiful states is it the least expensive to own a car? We combined the average yearly insurance premium paid by insured drivers in each state with average state wide gas prices to calculate how much it costs to drive a car for a year in each state (figuring 10,000 miles a year, 25 miles per gallon). Here’s our list of the top ten least expensive states to own a car, with Quoted’s suggestion for a scenic drive to help you enjoy the inexpensive glory.

10. VERMONT

vermont

Average yearly insurance premium: $721.33

Current average gas price in the state: $2.46

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,705.33

Scenic tour: Scenic Route 100 Byway. This 138-mile route in south-central Vermont meanders through 20 towns and was recognized by Yankee Magazine as one of “the most scenic drives in New England.” History, recreation, and culture abound, as do rivers, lakes, forests, and those famous Green Mountains.

9. INDIANA

Indiana

Average yearly insurance premium: $723.08

Current average gas price in the state: $2.42

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,691.08

Scenic tour: The Ohio River Scenic Byway. The state of Indiana invites you to, “Make it a relaxing historic tour, an exhilarating adventure or something in between. Three charming historic towns along the Scenic Byway are Vevay, Madison and Newburgh. Each offers antiques, artisans, relaxing B&Bs, quaint restaurants and beautiful views of the river.”

8. OHIO

Ohio

Average yearly insurance premium: $713.25

Current average gas price in the state: $2.43

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,685.25

Scenic tour: Ohio Scenic Byway: Amish Country. From the state of Ohio: “The 160-mile Amish Country Byway boasts views of natural vistas along winding curves and over rolling hills. In addition, this charming country byway offers visitors a fine selection of Amish country cooking as well as historic sites featuring the history of Amish and German people.”

7. NORTH DAKOTA

north dakota

Average yearly premium: $714.75

Current average gas price in the state: $2.36

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,658.75

Scenic tour: Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway. On this 35-mile stretch, The North Dakota Parks promises, “fantastic scenery alongside the Missouri River. Catch glimpses of buffalo and explore the deep historical roots of the great Lakota spiritual leader Sitting Bull, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and visit the final resting place of Sakakawea.”

6. NORTH CAROLINA

north carolina

Average yearly premium: $720.73

Current average gas price in the state: $2.32

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,648.73

Scenic tour: Outer Banks National Scenic Byway. This 142-mile tour includes 2 ferry rides and usually takes about 6 and a half hours to complete. On this route, drivers will travel the nine Barrier Islands—also called banks—on the state’s coast.

5. MAINE

Maine

Average yearly premium: $663.63

Current average gas price in the state: $2.42

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,631.63

Scenic tour: The Bold Coast Byway. With a name like that, how could you go wrong? On this route, drivers travel 125 miles of Maine’s coast, with views of rocky coastlines, fishing boats, beaches and tide pools. Summer festivals, community events, lobster-eating opportunities, and museums round out the tour.

4. IOWA

Iowa

Average yearly premium: $656.43

Current average gas price in the state: $2.38

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,608.43

Scenic tour: The Driftless Area Scenic Byway. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? The state of Iowa describes the Driftless Area as a part of the land that was passed over by the last continental glacier which flattened most of the rest of the state. “As the byway zigzags through this area of Iowa untouched by glaciers centuries ago, be sure to look out across the bluffs to the valleys below and realize that the hills were not “pushed up” by movement of the land. Rather the streams and river valleys have been carved down into the land. The hilltops are all the same height!”

3. SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota

Average yearly premium (from 2011-2012): $690.95

Current average gas price in the state: $2.29

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,606.95

Scenic tour: Iron Mountain Road. This 17-mile drive will take you 45-60 minutes, due to a 20 MPH speed limit. From the South Dakota Parks Department: “The Iron Mountain Road is a work of art in itself. The highway connects Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The highway passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills and includes three tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore in the distance. The road is famous for the “Pigtail Bridges” that allows travelers to drop or gain altitude quickly.”

2. WISCONSIN

wisconsin

Average yearly insurance premium: $666.79

Current average gas price in the state: $2.35

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,606.79

Scenic tour: Great River Road National Scenic Byway. From Travel Wisconsin: “a 250 mile drive winding through 33 river towns, [it is] Wisconsin’s only designated National Scenic Byway. The road runs along the Mississippi River through some of Wisconsin’s oldest and most historic communities. This scenic road trip features stunning bluffs with scenic overlooks, a variety of wildlife, and beautiful countryside along the river.”

1. IDAHO

Little Redfish Lake

Average yearly premium (from 2011-2012): $639.19

Current average gas price in the state: $2.05

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $1,459.19

Scenic driving tour: The Sawtooth Scenic Byway. On this 115 mile drive, which takes about three hours, expect to see all manner of wildlife—including antelope, elk, and wolves—as well as alpine lakes, fertile land, and canyons.

And, just for comparison, the most expensive state to insure and gas your car:

NEW JERSEY

Average yearly premium (from 2011-2012): $1,334.54

Current average gas price in the state: $2.24

Average yearly cost, including insurance and gas: $2,230.54

That’s a whopping $771.35 more per year than Idaho—and this is just on average—just to put gas in your car and keep it insured.

So, why are these ten states the least expensive places to own a car? Our guess: fewer major cities than other states. In fact, these ten states aren’t home to any of the ten biggest US cities. We’d love to know what you think: why are these states cheapest?