Having a car inspires feelings of freedom and conjures images of the open road. But the reality of being an auto owner can be an entirely different experience. High gas prices, long commutes, and sometimes deadly accidents are daily concerns for drivers.
The drawbacks to car ownership and driving are far more pronounced in some parts of the country than in others. Just as gas prices vary by region, so does the likelihood of congestion, stolen vehicles, and accidents.
> Traffic fatalities: 7.2 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 26.0 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.2
> Avg. gas price: $2.87 per gallon
San Diego-Carlsbad may be sunny and warm, but it is also pricey. At $2.87 per gallon, it has the fourth highest average gas price in the country, just a few cents behind the most expensive gas of $3.00 in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California. That can be especially bad for San Diego-Carlsbad motorists because, on average, they lose 42 hours per year to traffic congestion, which is in the top 10% among all metro areas.
24/7 Wall St. created an index from half a dozen driving-related measures to identify the worst cities to drive in. The index components were selected to capture an area’s safety, convenience, and cost of driving. While the metro areas on this list span the United States, a disproportionate share of the worst cities for drivers are in western states — California in particular.