Survey Flawed: Georgia Probably Isn't The Most Expensive State For Car Owners After All

September 30, 2013

Back in August, Bankrate released a study of the costs of car ownership. After analyzing a range of factors -- including registration fees, fuel costs, and insurance -- the website revealed that Georgia is the most expensive state in which to own a vehicle

Only problem is, that's probably wrong.

Immediately after Bankrate published its study, folks around the country began to question its findings. "Well, those numbers certainly don't match what I pay," was a common refrain.

Case in point: our colleagues at Motoramic, one of whom has first-hand knowledge of the costs of car ownership in two states that fared very differently in Bankrate's study, Georgia (#1) and New Jersey (#23).

As Steven Lang points out, it's hard to make Bankrate's figures add up. While taxes and fees supposedly make Georgia the most expensive state, those same taxes and fees appear sharply higher in New Jersey. And if the study's key ranking factor goes wrong, then the veracity of the entire list gets thrown into question.

And as if that weren't enough to upend Bankrate's study, Lang points out that analysts failed to consider other important costs of car ownership, like emissions repairs, tolls, and speed traps.

In other words, the study is a lost cause. Not only does its methodology lack transparency, but it fails to consider any of the nuances of car ownership costs, which can vary from town to town, county to county, not just state to state. We applaud Lang for his diligence and thoughtfulness.

We also agree with Lang's final point, which is that car ownership is expensive almost everywhere. The only sure-fire way to keep costs in check is to take care of your car with regular maintenance and check-ups. The same can be said about lots of other things in life, too. 


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