Drivers in Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California pay, on average, the most to own and operate their vehicles, according to a 50-state analysis of 2001 vehicles by Runzheimer International. Annual operating costs, including fuel, oil, tires, and maintenance, for Michigan are $2,070. Annual fixed or ownership costs, including insurance, depreciation, financing, taxes, and license and registration fees, are $6,599, for total annual costs of $8,669, the highest in the United States. Total annual fixed and operating costs in New Jersey are $8,619; Massachusetts, $8,590; Rhode Island, $8,448; and California, $8,376. Alabama drivers, on the other hand, pay only $1,890 in operating costs, $5,212 in fixed costs, for total annual costs of $7,102, more than $1,500 less per year than Michigan drivers. Other states less expensive to operate vehicles include Vermont, $7,127; Iowa, $7,144; Tennessee, $7,148; and South Dakota, $7,149. “Insurance plays a large role in cost differences between cities, states, and regions of the country,” says David Friedlen, director of product development and research of Runzheimer. “Accident rates, collision damage, auto theft, and medical claims all help determine how insurance carriers set rates.” “But other factors are important, too, such as fuel costs; labor rates which, in part, determine maintenance costs; and annual state taxes on ‘luxury items’ such as cars, among other cost differences.” The bottom line, says Friedlen: “Where you drive plays a major role in how much it costs to drive.”

Originally posted on Fleet Financials