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Drivers often hit with bad weather patterns also get hit with some of the worst fees to operate a car, a new report suggests.
The average driver in the United States pays $2,223 annually to keep a vehicle running, according to a Bankrate.com report. But insurance premiums related to harsh weather patterns, among other factors, can push costs to some of their highest levels.
The study compiled yearly expenses for gasoline, insurance and repairs in 50 states and Washington, D.C. Despite the elevated costs, drivers in these states, and throughout the U.S., can take simple measures to keep costs down, said Stacy Jones, analyst at Bankrate.
"It's all about being proactive," Jones said.
Calling an insurance company to find discounts, fixing small mechanical problems before they become large, and carpooling, among other steps, can keep costs down for drivers in any state, she said.
Click through to see the five most expensive states to drive a car, including a surprising No. 1.
—By Jacob Pramuk, Special to CNBC.com
Published 11 August 2014
Average cost annually: $2,421
Insurance is the key expense sending costs higher for New Jersey drivers. The number of cars on the road—and, in turn, the number of accidents—can send insurance rates up.
As one of the most densely populated states, New Jersey's prices are heavily affected by both.
Average cost annually: $2,487
Though its insurance and repair costs sit around the national average, Mississippi shoots higher because of gas costs. Its drivers log the second-most miles of any state, Jones said.
To calculate its gas costs, the study took into account both the state's gas prices and how much ground its residents cover.
Average cost annually: $2,516
The threat of inclement weather forces car operators to pay more for insurance in Florida. Though gas prices in the state are higher than the national average, Jones said, hurricane-related insurance costs contribute most to Florida's ranking.
Average cost annually: $2,555
The devastating Hurricane Katrina's effects linger in Louisiana's insurance and repair costs, Jones said. These costs are "very high" because, much like Florida's drivers, those in Louisiana get charged more because of potentially harsh weather.
Average cost annually: $2,705
Wyoming is among the least densely populated U.S. states, which forces drivers to log more miles than those of any other state. Car owners in the state drive nearly 17,000 miles per year—68 percent more than the average driver—leading to an average annual gas bill of $1,588.
Although repair, gas and insurance prices fall below the national average, the sheer distance driven vaults Wyoming to the top spot.