Midwest Is Least Expensive Region for Auto Ownership

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When trying to figure out which states in the U.S. have the lowest automobile ownership costs, would you guess that several states in the Midwest rank at the top? That's what Bankrate.com found when it took the average repair, insurance and fuel costs for each state and compared with them with one another.

Iowa tops the list of "cheapest" states in which to own a car at $1,942 per year, while Hawaii comes in at $2,145, Alabama at $2,381 and Wyoming (the most expensive state in which to own a car) at $2,705. For the the full list of where each stated ranked (the list doesn’t separate pickups from cars), visit KickingTires.com.

Cars.com image by Evan Sears



I think I'm going to move to IA, I'm sick of the traffic and ridiculous tolls and gas taxes in MD, not to mention the high insurance.

Of course, as those of us in the Midwest know, faster wear of suspension and chassis components, combined with rust-limited life span, eats the savings.

Mr. Knowitall, only if you drive a Chevy. I've never had a rust issue or suspention issues due to rust. sure the bolts and fasteners get a little rusty underneath but I've never had body rust or frame rust past just on the surface. I usually keep my vehicles about ten years.

@Jack What part of the country do you live in? They all rust here at about the same rate of time. The only way to slow down rust is to under cost the crap out of you car/truck and wash them at the car wash none stop all winter long or just park them in a nice dry place all winter long.

I live in Ohio, they salt the roads like wild fire here. I keep up with my washing in the winter, never get under coating. I had a Titan for 9 years, not one stich of rust on it when I traded last spring, not even in the door seams or anywhere.

I to live in Ohio, and I know where a local Titan is that you could drive a compact car through the bed side. (Not that bad, but you get the point.)
As JD pointed out, they all rust in the midwest, if they are used much and have a few years on them.
My 2001 Silverado 2500HD 4x4 D(Purchased new in August 2000) has started showing rust this past spring at 14 years of age, and 435,000+ miles. If they are driven a lot, they tend to hold up better due to rain water splashing up into all the places salt gets.

It's harder on a vehicle to drive them in salt then park them for weeks on end.

In Missouri, trucks from the late 90s and early 2000's are usually rusted out along the wheel wells, cab corners, rocker panels, bumpers, and under carriage. Big 3, Nissan, and Toyota included, but the worst ones seem to be GM trucks.

I’ve never had an issue with any of my vehicles, I try to wash them 2 times a week in a car wash that rinses the under carriage after road salt is applied, and I have my vehicles under coated when I buy them new (might be over kill but I have not had a vehicle rust out of me yet).

Do you live near Ferguson, Missouri ?

I do think the criteria for assessing annual vehicle costs here don't accurately cover everything.

The cost of vehicle ownership would be higher. Most are paying down a vehicle as well. That isn't taken into consideration.

The repair figures also seem quite low, even for the US. How many miles do a set of tyres last?

We also have a breakdown of vehicle ownership costs here in Australia and they are significantly higher and they are broken down into vehicle segments.

Because as your interest rates rise, so will the cost of ownership which isn't factored.

That aside, there are frequent comments on car sites regarding the rivalry between States. A common comparison is California to Texas. It appears it's more expensive to own a vehicle in Texas than California.

Even though NJ is one of the cheaper states for fuel on the East Coast, it's vehicle ownership costs are higher than it's surrounding neighbours, Delaware is close though, but Pennsylvania is cheaper.

I find it hard to believe that the Midwestern USA would be a cheaper place to own a vehicle. Winters tend to be more harsh with the need for winter tires and one consumes more fuel. The climate increases wear and tear and rust.

Lou, I think most people in the midwest run all season tires. Only people with rear drive sports cars run winter tires that I now of, maybe the far north like MN, northern WI and MI people might run them but with roads actually snow covered maybe 10 days out of the winter their not really worth the trade off in capablity on dry and wet roads. Winter tires are popular in western mountain states.

@Andy: High insurance in MD? Really? I'm only paying $85/month for TWO vehicles with low deductible and full coverage (yes, even on the F-150) and I live in MD. (Yes, unlike Denver Mike who does NOT live in Denver despite his username.) Now, I'll grant I'm not a fan of the heavy traffic on the freeways, but I consider the DC area far worse than any other part of the state for traffic.

For anyone who drives more than 25k miles per year gasoline taxes, excise tax and state/local sales tax begin to really add up.

In my region, individual cities and counties can add pennies to cost of retain gasoline, which results in some communities have gas prices 10 cents per gallon higher than in neighboring counties.

Does it add up? You bet!

@Roadwhale, When I moved from OH to MD for work my insurance went from $325 to $500 every six months. MD has high insurance at least in Baltimore County, might be a little cheaper farther away from Baltimore.

I would bet a huge chunk of those rusty midwest vehicles are purely cosmetic issues and not anything that would prevent the owner from driving it daily. Most would probably choose to finance a new vehicle rather than pay for rust repairs or just continue to drive that old rust bucket until the wheels fall off.

I live in Northern MN and all but the main arterial roads are mostly ice/hardpack from November to March. Even with the tons and tons of salt they throw down...it doesn't really start melting the snow until you get above 0 Degrees F and it can go a month or more without the temp getting above 0 in the dead of winter. Sure rots the hell outta the trucks though. (Keeps some of the riffraff out too!)

I'm a 20 year old college student and live in central Iowa and i just purchased an 05 Ram 1500 quad cab 4x4 this spring, for full coverage insurance I only pay $96 a month, as for tires most people in my area run all terrain or all season, at the local dealerships all seasons are mostly standard even on sporty cars, as for the rust Chevy pickups tend to by the first to show and its worst on the cab corners and rear wheel wells, Dodge/RAM and Ford are just as bad but you don't see it as quick. my truck being almost ten, only has just started to show a few bubbles over the rear wheels no visible rust anywhere on or under the truck and it doesn't have any undercoat. the truck was a one owner and it came from northern MN in 2010 according to the paperwork found in the truck.

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