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The best and worst states for drivers

A new study by CarInsurance.com ranks New Hampshire and Alaska among the top states for drivers, Read writes. Mississippi and Louisiana, on the other hand, make drivers miserable.

By Richard ReadGuest blogger / September 18, 2012

A Mississippi Department of Transportation sign in Hattiesburg, Miss., warns southbound motorists on U.S. 49 of weather conditions in South Mississippi in this August 2012 file photo. Mississippi ranked as the most miserable place for drivers, according to a new study by CarInsurance.com.

John Fitzhugh/Sun Herald/AP/File

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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.

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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 CarInsurance.com 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. CarInsurance.com rated New Hampshire as the best state, followed byAlaskaConnecticutColorado, 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 LouisianaWest Virginia, and Georgia.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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