Anyone who's ever laid claim to a set of keys can tell you car ownership is an expensive proposition, but according to CarInsurance.com, just how expensive can fluctuate significantly depending on where you call home. The site released a new study called "The Automotive Misery Index," which looks at each state's average household income compared to factors like the cost of fuel, the number of miles driven and the cost of full insurance coverage for a 2012 Honda Accord EX. Surprisingly enough, Mississippi ranked as the state with the highest misery index, thanks in part to low average household income, high average mileage and very expensive insurance.

Five states with the highest misery index:
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana
  • West Virginia
  • Montana
Five states with the lowest misery index:
  • New Hampshire
  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Washington
You can check out the full top 10 list by checking out the press release below.
Show full PR text
CarInsurance.com's Automotive Misery Index Ranks Where Driving Costs Most

Foster City, CA (PRWEB) September 12, 2012

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 cost 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 average household income against the cost of gas, number of miles driven and price of full insurance coverage for a 2012 Honda Accord EX. Each factor can greatly skew the cost of car ownership. For example:

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.
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.
Average 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.
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 are:

Rank - State - Gas & Insurance - Income - Misery Index
51 - Mississippi - $4,287 - $36,821 - 11.6%
50 - Oklahoma - $4,816 - $45,018 - 10.7%
49 - Louisiana - $4,504 - $42,813 - 10.5%
48 - West Virginia - $4,292 - $41,999 - 10.2%
47 - Montana - $4,005 - $41,286 - 9.7%
46 - Georgia - $4,268 - $44,082 - 9.7%
45 - Michigan - $4,274 - $46,597 - 9.2%
44 - Wyoming - $4,828 - $52,848 - 9.1%
43 - Kentucky - $3,860 - $42,302 - 9.1%
42 - Arkansas - $3,411 - $37,856 - 9.0%

The 10 states where gas and insurance costs hurt the least are:

Rank - State - Gas & Insurance - Income - Misery Index
1 - New Hampshire - $2,932 - $65,948 - 4.4%
2 - Alaska - $2,765 - $60,409 - 4.6%
3 - Connecticut - $3,266 - $66,187 - 4.9%
4 - Colorado - $2,955 - $58,647 - 5.0%
5 - Washington - $2,976 - $58,821 - 5.1%
6 - Massachusetts - $3,087 - $60,843 - 5.1%
7 - New Jersey - $3,301 - $64,693 - 5.1%
8 - Maryland - $3,347 - $64,635 - 5.2%
9 - Virginia - $3,412 - $60,931 - 5.6%
10 - 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.

Methodology
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/Articles/automotive-misery-index.aspx.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      imoore
      • 2 Years Ago
      Do you know the average cost of a license plate in Misssissippi is around $150? That's one reason why several people from Mississippi register their cars in Alabama.
        moderate fringe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @imoore
        150? Yeah but for new cars more like $8-900. They also vary widely by county. New(er) motorcycles of even 650cc can run a few hundred since they don't fall under the 1994 legislative credit that roll back some of these high fees. Still things have a way of balancing out. Florida has no tax on groceries. You'd think they'd be cheap than Alabama but the prices are just higher so it's the same. Cost of living here is overage cheap. People always move up North and brag about making 50% more but somehow never get anywhere despite having a previously unneeded roommate helping with the bills. Mississippi tags bottom out at about 30 dollars. A 60k car would likely be $2000. Mississippi requires safety stickers. It involves giving a guy five dollars for peeling it and slapping it on the back of the windshield. 2.50 for the shop, 2.50 for the state. No actual inspection takes place. Alabama doesn't have this. Are they less safe? :-)
          Rob
          • 2 Years Ago
          @moderate fringe
          Louisiana wants $400 to register my 5 year old Nissan pickup, or as I see it, enough money for four years worth of Texas registration and trips to the border to get it inspected :)
      Mark Skerritt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Poor versus middle class. South versus north. No surprise here.
      tsmomfla
      • 2 Years Ago
      In Florida, if a person purchases a new car or brings a car into the state and wants to register it, it costs about $500. That is an expense for many people coming in and they are shocked. The annual fee to get the sticky year tag is $100. Not cheap in thie state.
        avconsumer2
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tsmomfla
        Ditto for LA (not L.A.), "road tax" that's usually charged for new cars gets charged for new register-ees - something like 8% of the KBB value of the vehicle - though I think there has been reform on this. I believe MS has some kind of insane out of state new tag fees or something similar as well.
      Gypsy Cuevas
      • 2 Years Ago
      mississippi is very easy on car inspections.. .there IS none really -i lived there from 2009 until 2011 .now back in PA =CAR INSPECTIONS HERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SOMETHING WE DREAD.=but it was terrible for me when i fiorst came back because i hadnt had to have any work done onthe car,, for 2=3 years.. car insurance was nealry triple what we pay in PA.. i asked them why =too many uninsured motorists... altho they now DO require insurance.. they didnt for a very long time...in PA =it has been a l;wa as long as i can remember...but the tags things really shiocked me down ion mississippi.. i dont kniow how they get away with that...
      moderate fringe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Insurance is high in Mississippi? I've been paid 296 bucks a year for a decade on my Miata. Recently went up to 340. Likely higher for more people that think having three or more DUIs is a part of life. I believe what makes Mississippi expensive is work often being far away. I work 30 miles away. Went to Dollar General in my town. The clerk said he lives in the city where I work. Seems everyone lives in one city and works in another, 30 to 50 miles away. Even though the same damn chain places are in every city. It's hard to find a job so you take the one that calls you and in this economy quitting isn't a great option. At least gas is relatively cheap here.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @moderate fringe
        [blocked]
          moderate fringe
          • 2 Years Ago
          Whoops never mind. They are only in the Miss./Alabama. Dairyland gave me a good rate on motorcycle insurance. 65 dollars a year. I think they are out of Wisconsin.
          moderate fringe
          • 2 Years Ago
          If you have full coverage can be expensive. I only have liability. Lots of cost are still paying for these people without insurance. My agent said they pay, get the card and then cancel the next day or week. I saw someone doing this last time I paid my account. 200+ still month seems high on a Sonata. Tried ALFA?
        Rob
        • 2 Years Ago
        @moderate fringe
        I've seen what you mean in Louisiana. An absolutely huge number of people who work in Houma will commute to and from Thibodaux, which is a half hour drive without traffic (from our office anyways). I know Thibodaux is the more appealing place to live, but I don't see how you can justify that kind of gas/time expenditure. And it makes rush hour suuuuuuuuuck.
      Greg
      • 2 Years Ago
      Misery Index is subjective. U can find anyone in any state IN MISERY these days. I live in KALIFPHONEYIA and the misery index here is growing expotentially. Gas is $ 4.18 + or - now and the circus sots & idiots in Sacramento are tryin to sift fly Sh-- from a pepperbox, while the Hollywood LEFT sings Koom-bah-ya. Misery just luvs company and we're ' full up' here. Will trade Boxer, Feinstein, and Gubernor for full gas tank.
      speedjohn
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a surprise, mostly southern states. The welfare states' to the federal government. It's amazing how MItt Romney bags on those 47% that pay no federal income taxes when so many of them actually vote for him or at least vote GOP teabagger in the poor south.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's amazing how easy it is to politicize this; 4/5 of the miserable states voted in majority for the Republicans in 2008, while in the non-miserable states, 4/5 voted Democrat. I suppose I can understand why they support a president who promises to end high gas prices (through magic) and promises some "trick down economics" to come their way.
        moderate fringe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        Pelosi said the democrats said they would end high gas prices in 2005. Gas was 2.79 here and now 3.49. I'm still waiting. The magic is called allowing the pipeline Obama stopped and drilling on federal lands. Will it work? Don't know but probably better than hoping everyone gets a Chevy Volt.
          dgoffnspector
          • 2 Years Ago
          @moderate fringe
          You do know Keystone XL has been pumping Canadian crude into the US since 2010 (Phase I) and 2011 (Phase II), right? What was blocked was the route of Phase IV, which was unacceptable because it went across an active fault line and one of the largest fresh water aquifers in the world. Phase III which will go from Oklahoma to Texas Gulf Coast (to load crude onto tankers bound for China) will be completed next year. A proposal for the new Phase IV route has been submitted and is expected to receive approval within a month. Keystone XL isn't about lower US fuel prices, it's about selling oil. Koch Industries owns the Keystone Hardisty Distribution Hub in Alberta where the pipeline starts, and they control the rights to 1/4 of Canadian crude. They also own a Minnesota refinery that receives up to 250K bbls of Canadian crude per day. TransCanada, which wholly owns the pipeline, has filed over 50 imminent domain claims against Texas and South Dakota landowners. They've also been sued by several refineries for not meeting capacity committments and for construction cost overages.Nobody in this deal has America's best interests at heart.
        gop.hates.america
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        oh the good old Trickle Down Reagonomics - lowering median household income since 1970s. Can't wait for Romney to raise our taxes and completely kill the middle class.
          A P
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gop.hates.america
          Yep..then half will be on welfare and the other half of us will work for the government! And then he will outlaw the Republican Party as being "hateful" because really smart people vote Dem! If you are lazy, greedy and yet elitist at the same time, VOTE Obamster!
        Jason Krumvieda
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        It is called trickle, not trick. Rather than giving a company to develop a product that people might want, don't you think it would be better to give ....I dunno...$500 Million to consumers through tax credits and then letting the market come up with something that people want? You could do that...OR...give some company $500 million that will close up shop and move production overseas, then when it was time to pay the money back the tax payers are last in line and the only thing that we got was a large campaign donation to the very same party the setup the deal. What a waste.
      gop.hates.america
      • 2 Years Ago
      States with highest misery index are also the ones which receive the most welfare money and pay least amount of taxes i.e. Romney's 47%
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        [blocked]
      Niels Marienlund
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mississippi is the most miserable state in every category. Most obese, least educated, worst health care, lowest GDP, lowest median income...and I'll be damned if it's not the most religious state, too. What an awful place.
        Gypsy Cuevas
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Niels Marienlund
        they ARE avery poor state but i met some of the most kiondhearted and caring folks there and i have been to and lived in many different places....
          Gypsy Cuevas
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Gypsy Cuevas
          i lived in Virginia very briefly ..and couldnt wait to leave .. it was the most expensive place i ever lived.. .
      Ian D.
      • 2 Years Ago
      All of the states ranked highest in MISERY also voted Republican in 2008. 1. Lowest incomes. 2. Least educated. Hmmm interesting.....
      Wolfer One
      • 2 Years Ago
      did you notice that all 5 states with the highest misery index are republican owned states. it figures.
        Major
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wolfer One
        That's because they are worried about Barry winning again.
        Scottilla
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wolfer One
        The costs really don't vary that much from state to state. The big difference is in the denominator, the average income in the state. Yes, the Republican states are the poorest. That's how we know that Republicans are better than Democrats on economic issues (or whatever).
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wolfer One
        [blocked]
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