Is Your State the Best or Worst to Drive in 2018?

Commuting to work in your state is either unnoticeable or the absolute worst. Either way, you can probably get a feeling about where you stand on this list. Wallet Hub analyzed 27 different factors across all 50 states to figure out which state is the worst or best to drive in. Those factors included access to and the price of gas, road quality, maintenance costs, access to maintenance facilities, and so on. We’re going to start with the worst of the best and the best of the worst, and work our way down. Buckle up, and here we go!

The 10th best state to drive in: Illinois

The state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

The state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. | fotoguy22/iStock/Getty Images

People in Illinois really care for their cars. Its best qualities in the rankings were its number of car washes per capita, and the number of auto-repair shops per capita. So if you live in Illinois, that’s a good looking car you got.

Next: Watch it! We’re ranking here!

The 10th worst state to drive in: New York

Central Park, New York, New York

Central Park, New York, New York | iStock/Getty Images

New York is known for its horrible traffic and unrelenting use of the horn. Just thinking about being in New York City or Buffalo during rush hour inspires the worst in people. That being so, it makes sense that it would be in the top ten worst states to drive in.

Next: They may be referring to its drivability when they say “flyover state.”

The 9th best state to drive in: Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas skyline

Little Rock, Arkansas | Thinkstock

Good roads and low cost of ownership make things look pretty good for this state. Given that the state is mostly rural, it has a pretty great commuter rating as well. Just don’t expect to not get into a fender bender, because their safety rating is pretty low.

Next: Good luck turning left.

The 9th worst state to drive in: New Jersey

Newark skyline at night

Newark, New Jersey | Source: iStock

You don’t want to drive in New Jersey in general, but if you have to, at least it’s pretty safe to drive in. In the safety ranking category, New Jersey ranked No. 6. Everything else they ranked in was way lower. So at least they have that going for them.

Next: The best in the ownership and maintenance costs category.

The 8th best state to drive in: Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Birmingham, Alabama | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

Say what you will about this state, they know how to take care of their cars. Alabama ranked No. 1 in the cost of maintenance and ownership of all 50 states. Alabama also ranked No. 2 in lowest gas prices, so fill up the truck and cruise through this wonderful state.

Next: Something about the Northeast makes driving there suck. 

The 8th worst state to drive in: Rhode Island

Harbor View of Providence Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

This quiet little state is apparently a terrible place to drive a car. This state ranked in the bottom ten of every category except safety, where it ranked No. 2.

Next: You must have this state on your mind.

The 7th best state to drive in: Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown skyline at dusk.

Atlanta, Georgia | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

You might as well get that southern hospitality when you’re driving. Georgia has some of the best costs for ownership and maintenance on their vehicles.

Next: Just avoid the whole Northeast at this point.

The 7th worst state to drive in: Massachusetts

Boston skyline at dusk

Boston, Massachusetts | Mihai Andritoiu/

There is a reason why people in Massachusetts have so much road rage. It likely has to do with having the worst infrastructure in the entire country. It also ranks in the top five for maintenance costs overall.

Next: It’s like Washington, but not quite as cool.

The 6th best state to drive in: Oregon

The White Stag sign, a former advertising sign, greets those traveling into Old Town on the Burnside Bridge.

Portland, Oregon | Png-Studio/iStock/Getty Images 

Oregonian’s want to keep Portland weird and that’s quite alright, so long as it remains a great state to drive in. Besides being very polite on the road, the state boasts good infrastructure, low ownership costs, and has the lowest maintenance cost of any state!

Next: This state is up there because of their environment.

The 6th worst state to drive in: Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska with moose in the foreground

Anchorage, Alaska | iStock/Getty Images

By no fault of their own, Alaskans have one of the worst states to drive in. The main reason is their environment. This causes havoc on the infrastructure, and skyrockets maintenance costs. Oddly enough, oil is their biggest commodity, yet their gas prices are some of the highest in the country.

Next: We’re halfway there!

The 5th best state to drive in: North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Charlotte, North Carolina | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

North Carolina is a wonderful state to drive in. They don’t do anything, in particular, that would be considered the best, but they do everything just good enough to get this top spot. That’s what consistency does for you.

Next: For a state with “connect” in the name, you’d think they’d have infrastructure down.

The 5th worst state to drive in: Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut skyline

Hartford, Connecticut | SeanPavonePhoto/ Getty Images Plus

Seriously, what is going on in the Northeast? We get that they’re the oldest part of our country, but how can you have all that regional wisdom and not figure out how to put together your infrastructure? Connecticut ranks in the top five for worst traffic, infrastructure, and vehicle costs for all states.

Next: We’re surprised their cars don’t run completely on biofuels. 

The 4th best state to drive in: Iowa

Here we have the Des Moines Skyline, Iowa Women of Achievement bridge and the river all in one great night shot

Des Moines Skyline, Iowa | KudicM/Getty Images

Iowa isn’t a state you think of often, but if you are ever going to live there, they have some of the best traffic in the country. Iowa ranks No. 3, along with Pennsylvania, for lowest percentage of rush-hour traffic.

Next: The West Coast is mostly bad to drive in.

The 4th worst state to drive in: California

California State Capitol

Sacramento, California | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Listening to a California traffic reporter is like listening to someone play Battleship and only attack the “I” lateral. Even though they have some of the worst traffic in the nation, they do have the No. 1 rank for access to vehicles and maintenance.

Next: Another one of those flyover states in the lead.

The 3rd best state to drive in: Nebraska

'Welcome to Nebraska' sign board on a empty road

Nebraska | iStock/Getty Images

Nebraska ranks No. 1 for infrastructure and traffic. When you look at the picture above, that kind of explains why they are so high. Either way, they are living the good life.

Next: For a state so small, you wouldn’t believe how bad the traffic is. 

The 3rd worst state to drive in: Maryland

Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland | Melpomenem/iStock/Getty Images

Maryland did terrible in pretty much every category. They ranked No. 2 for worst infrastructure and traffic compared to the other states in the union. It’s a wonder that they didn’t get a worse ranking.

Next: The final stretch.

The 2nd best state to drive in: Kansas

The Kansas state capitol building is located in downtown Topeka on land donated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad company. Construction began in 1866 and was officially completed 37 years later in 1903 at a total cost of just over 3.2 million dollars. The building is over 300 feet tall and is 17 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

Topeka, Kansas | fotoguy22/Getty Images

Kansas shares many of the same advantages that Nebraska does, in that it is mostly rural and there’s not a huge demand on their infrastructure. Therefore it has some of the best infrastructures in the country and the least amount of traffic.

Next: Remember how we said most of the West Coast is terrible to drive in?

The 2nd worst state to drive in: Washington

Seattle Cityscape

Seattle, Washington | welcomia/iStock/Getty Images

As a resident of this state, I can verify that Washington is chock full of terrible drivers that make traffic terrible. It is also almost impossible to afford a car, let alone a tank of gas. Couple that with a consistently staggering rate of accidents on the road, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Next: The best state to drive in?

The No. 1 best state to drive in: Texas

Houston, Texas, USA

Houston, Texas| Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

Texas hits it big in all categories for Wallet Hub’s annual analysis. So, if you’re a Texan, enjoy the open road and congratulations! The rest of us will continue to wallow in lengthy commutes.

Next: Now for the worst state to drive in.

The absolute worst state to drive in: Hawaii

driving along the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii

Traveling the Road to Hana in Hawaii | iStock/Getty Images

So it’s official, if your state touches the Pacific Ocean, then your state probably sucks to own a car in. That’s four-fifths of Pacific states that have ranked as the worst. Oh well, at least it’s beautiful in our neck of the world.

Hawaii had a total score of 31.83 out of 100. To put that in perspective, Washington had a score of 44.08 and Texas had a score of 63.68.

If your state didn’t make this list, check out the full list on Wallet Hub’s website by following this link!

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