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Mississippi, Oklahoma Make Life Miserable For Motorists

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Back in May, we gave you our picks for the best (and worst) states for drivers. Now, another organization has compiled a similar list, and we're intrigued to see some overlap in the results.

Here at TCC, we based our rankings of U.S. states on five criteria: 

  • Gas prices
  • Miles driven per capita
  • Speed limits
  • Accident rate
  • Speeding tickets written

After crunching the numbers, we found Alaska to be the best state for drivers, followed by Utah, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. 

At the bottom: Louisiana, bested slightly by Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Now, the folks at has done something similar. In generating their rankings, though, they've focused on the cost of vehicle ownership. Their four criteria are:

  • Number of miles driven
  • Cost of gasoline
  • Cost of insurance
  • Average income

Ultimately, the website's staff took all that data and created what they're calling the Automotive Misery Index.

The least -- and most -- miserable states

If you live in the Northeast or the West, congratulations: those are some of the least miserable areas for drivers. rated New Hampshire as the best state, followed by Alaska, Connecticut, Colorado, and Washington.

At the other end of the scale, Mississippi ranked as the most miserable place for drivers. 

How is that possible, given the fact that Mississippi boasts some of the cheapest gas in the U.S.? It's for two reasons, really.

For starters, Mississippians put an average of 20,424 miles on their odometers each year, which is more than in almost any other state. (Wyoming residents are the only folks to best that total, with annual mileage averaging 22,543.)

But the key to Mississippi's rank is its income. While gas and insurance aren't exorbitantly pricey in the Hospitality State, they take a huge bite out of Mississippi's average income, which, at $36,821, is the lowest on the list. (FYI, Mississippi is one of only three states with an average annual income below $40,000 -- the other two being its neighbors, Tennessee and Arkansas.)

Mississippi is joined at the bottom of the list by other states from the South and one from the Midwest. Coming in at #2 is Oklahoma, followed by Louisiana, West Virginia, and Georgia.

Do you agree with the study's findings? Or do you think your state deserved a better (or worse) shake? Drop us a line, or leave a note in the comments below.

[via Marty Padgett]

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Comments (9)
  1. 20,000 miles per year, on AVERAGE! holy cow. People have got to be spending a lot of time in their vehicle. That is crazy.

  2. Keep in mind that Mississippi is pretty sparsely populated, and the state's high poverty rate has kept capital investment to a minimum. Because of those factors, residents have to drive a long way to reach the nearest bank, doctor, or grocery store, which may help explain the high annual mileage.

    That said, I grew up in Mississippi, and when I say that some people motor to the foot of the driveway to pick up their mail instead of walking 50 feet, I'm not exaggerating. Cars rule.

  3. WOW.......
    2 hours a day in traffic.......3 hours a day on the Train or Subway........that is crazy
    I guess it is all in perspective......the more rural and lass public transportation the more on your automobile.

  4. Maybe that explains all the uninsured drivers in Oklahoma that nobody wants to do anything about. I was rear ended by an unisured driver in December and my son was t-boned by one in June. Make sure you have full coverage if you drive in Oklahoma because the roads are full of uninsured idiots that think driving is right and not a priviledge.

  5. It's the same way in Louisiana -- in fact, it seems a little worse here, which may explain why we have the highest insurance rates in the nation. (Seriously, I had a friend who just moved down from Chicago and couldn't believe that his rates doubled when he switched his registration. I told him he got off easy because his car's so old.)

  6. Plus it must be concidered that Mississippi has traditionally been one of the poorest states in the country.

  7. I would like to share views not yet shared as to why this state has such miserable driving conditions.

    1) The obvious and most discussed within this article: MILES DRIVEN DAILY ARE VAST AS THE POPULATION IS SPARSE even within highly populated areas.
    2) CAN YOU SAY.... POTHOLE?! The roads of Mississippi are far and few from being a 'strut into town' but rather 'a strut may be seen on the interstate while going into town' due to the poor condition of the roads from rural county roads to the roads within the heart of the Jackson area. With various rattling bumps and potholes galore. We curse the red clay that sits beneath the asphalt infrastructure as it adds to the demise.
    3)HEAT! A/C is essential & guzzles fuel yr round

    ~Your Truly from MS

  8. I think the criterion of using annual mileage is way off base. I live in Massachusetts and last night at rush hour it took 1.5 hours to go 20 miles from the suburbs into Boston. That is low mileage misery. There couldn't be a speeding ticket because the average speed was so slow, the speed limits were just fine but rather pointless and I did not see any accidents, only volume.

  9. My parents still live in MS. Your annual license plate is $hundreds per year.
    In TX for our cars we pay around $65ea.

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