Behind the wheel: Nevada fifth in the nation for car-ownership costs

Feel like you shell out a lot for auto insurance?

Feel like auto repair costs run a little high?

Feel like the price of gasoline goes up every time you drive by the pump?

You could be right. In fact, Nevada commuters tend to spend more than most of the country on taxes and fees, as well as insurance and repairs, according to a new Bankrate.com ranking of the 50 states by driving cost.

Bankrate.com ranks Nevada fifth on its list of most expensive states for drivers. In Nevada, total annual car ownership costs are $3,886. The annual national average for operating a car is $3,201, the survey said.

Nevada had the third-highest automobile taxes and fees, at an average of $1,741 per year, followed by California at $1,809, and Georgia at $1,952.

Bankrate senior analyst Claes Bell said Thursday that some states, including Nevada, might substitute one tax for another. Bell said Nevada, which has no income tax, “might make it up in the form of an ancillary fee from car ownership or sales.”

For every state, Bankrate took the following items into account when figuring the total cost: average repair costs, taxes and fees, average pump price for gasoline, and median insurance premiums.

In its first survey of car-ownership costs, Bankrate did not factor in depreciation.

The average annual gasoline costs in Nevada were $970, far behind Wyoming at $1,643.

“People get so fixated on the price of a gallon of gas,” Bell said. “The cost of gas isn’t always related to the price at the pump. Day to day driving habits have a huge impact on your overall cost of gas.”

Bell said Nevada had higher-than-average repair costs. At $364, it was slightly above the national average of $353, according to the report.

Insurance costs in the Silver State were $970 per year, higher than the national average of $762 annually.

Georgia, with an annual cost of $4,233, is the most expensive state to operate a motor vehicle. In order, California ($3,966), Wyoming ($3,938) and Rhode Island ($3,913) round out the top five most expensive states.

Georgians spend a lot of time in their cars thanks partly to Atlanta’s sprawling communities and a lack of public transportation. Bell attributed those long commutes to above-average gasoline costs and insurance rates.

And Georgia has the highest automobile taxes and fees in the nation.

Oregon, at $2,204, is the cheapest. The report said Oregon drivers benefit from the absence of a state sales tax and relatively low car insurance rates.

“Plus, the typical Beaver State resident drives 16 percent fewer miles than the national average,” the Bankrate report said.

After Oregon, Alaska ($2,227), South Dakota ($2,343), Montana ($2,660) and Indiana ($2,698) join Oregon among the five cheapest states.

For more information on the survey, visit www.bankrate.com.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.