NORTH CAROLINA — In the movies, driving seems like a dream. There’s rarely heavy congestion — unless the main character is supposed to get stuck in traffic to move the plot along — and gas tanks seemingly never have to be refilled. But this is the real world, and like it or not, driving in some places is more of a chore than a stress-reliever, regardless of what set of wheels are moving you.
North Carolina ranks 6th in America when it comes to getting behind the wheel. That’s according to a new report out Tuesday from the folks at the personal finance website WalletHub. The researchers compared every state based on 30 measurements across four categories: cost of ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, safety, and access to vehicles and maintenance. Some individual measurements received higher weights than others. This includes average gas prices, auto-maintenance costs, share of rush-hour traffic congestion and average commute time by car.
Here’s how North Carolina ranks in each category:
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 15th
- Traffic and infrastructure: 27th
- Safety: 16th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 10th
Oregon is the best place overall for driving, the researchers found, even though the state never ranked higher than 11th in any individual category. Oregon scored 61.56 points out of 100 possible points, slightly edging out Illinois by just .12 points.
Here are the top 10 states for driving:
- North Carolina
Of note, just 7.03 points separated the No. 1 state from No. 25, North Dakota and it appears the best places to drive tended to be located in the South and Midwest. Meanwhile, Hawaii ranked dead last in the rankings, followed by Alaska, Washington, California and New Hampshire.
California performed poorly in the overall rankings despite placing in the top five in three categories: fewest days with precipitation, most auto-repair shops per capita and most car washes per capita. That’s likely because “The Golden State” also ranked 42nd in share of rush-hour congestion, 47th in car theft rate, and 49th in average gas price.
If a small commute is what you’re after, consider packing your bags for Mississippi, which topped the list in lowest share of rush-hour traffic congestion.
WalletHub is the authors used data from the following sources: the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI, Energy Department, Council for Community and Economic Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Insurance Research Council, National Insurance Crime Bureau, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, National Centers for Environmental Information, Storm Prediction Center, American Automobile Association, The Road Information Program, Federal Highway Administration, QuinStreet Insurance Agency, EverQuote and WalletHub’s own research.
Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.
Photo credit: Jeff Topping/Getty Images
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