Vehicle owners in the New England states spend more per mile to own and operate vehicles than anywhere else in the United States, according to a cost analysis prepared for the American Automobile Association (AAA) by Runzheimer International.Based on the blended cost of owning and operating typical compact, intermediate, and full-size vehicles, New Englanders (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) pay 52.2 cents per mile. Drivers in the West-ern states (AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY) pay nearly as much, 52.0 cents per mile. These costs are based on operating costs: fuel, oil, tires, maintenance; and ownership costs: insurance, depreciation, license & registration fees, taxes, and financing. It is assumed the vehicles are driven 15,000 miles per year and traded-in after four years.The least expensive region of the United States to drive in is the Southeast (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN) where it is only 49.4 cents to own and operate these same vehicles.The national average, according to the Runzheimer calculations, is 51.2 cents per mile.The Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV) most nearly mirror the national average at 51.8 cents per mile.“We often think of the rate established by the IRS as the national standard,” says John McGrath, Runzheimer consultant and car-cost expert. For 2001, the national per-mile rate that the U.S. taxpayer can deduct for non-reimbursible business driving expenses is 34.5 cents.