SEATTLE - Traffic congestion, potholes, steep gas prices, left-hand exit ramps on freeways, and long red lights—there’s so much to love about driving in Washington. According to a study by WalletHub, all those headaches make it the second-worst state in the U.S. to drive in.
The study found Washington ranks 49th in the country for driving, earning decent marks for access to vehicles and maintenance, and not much else.
According to the personal finance site, they measured commuting conditions by the following factors:
- Cost of ownership and maintenance Average gas prices Average annual car insurance premium Maintenance costs Total extra vehicle operating costs per driver
- Average gas prices
- Average annual car insurance premium
- Maintenance costs
- Total extra vehicle operating costs per driver
- Traffic and infrastructure Rush-hour traffic congestion Increase in vehicle travel on highways since 2000 Number of days with precipitation Number of icy days Number of strong wind, hail storm reports Average commute time by car Road quality Bridge quality Roadway miles per 1,000 people
- Rush-hour traffic congestion
- Increase in vehicle travel on highways since 2000
- Number of days with precipitation
- Number of icy days
- Number of strong wind, hail storm reports
- Average commute time by car
- Road quality
- Bridge quality
- Roadway miles per 1,000 people
- Safety Traffic indiscipline Share of adults who always/nearly always wear seatbelt Traffic fatality rate Change in traffic fatality rate from 2019–2020 Car theft rate Larceny rate Strictness of DUI punishment Strictness of high-risk driving Driving laws rating Share of uninsured drivers Likelihood of collision with animals Animal loss claims per total number of drivers
- Traffic indiscipline
- Share of adults who always/nearly always wear seatbelt
- Traffic fatality rate
- Change in traffic fatality rate from 2019–2020
- Car theft rate
- Larceny rate
- Strictness of DUI punishment
- Strictness of high-risk driving
- Driving laws rating
- Share of uninsured drivers
- Likelihood of collision with animals
- Animal loss claims per total number of drivers
- Access to vehicles and maintenance Car dealerships per capita Auto repair shops per capita Car washes per capita Gas stations per capita Alternative fuel stations per capita Parking lots and garages per capita
- Car dealerships per capita
- Auto repair shops per capita
- Car washes per capita
- Gas stations per capita
- Alternative fuel stations per capita
- Parking lots and garages per capita
The study finds Washington ranks 47th for cost of ownership and maintenance, 39th in traffic and infrastructure, 20th in safety and 16th in access to vehicles and maintenance. Contributing to its poor score are average gas prices, where it ranks 47th, and average maintenance costs, also 47th.
However, Washington could be poised to bump up its score based on existing infrastructure and mandates—WalletHub’s transportation experts say electric vehicles could do a lot to cut maintenance and fuel costs.
The state is already planning to require all light-duty vehicles sold to meet zero-emission standards by 2035, leaving few options except for electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell cars or plug-in hybrids.
To read the full study, visit the WalletHub website.