All the reasons why NJ is a tough state for drivers
🚗 New Jersey is the 11th worst state for drivers
🚗 Road and bridge quality need major improvement
🚗 Car thefts, however, are worse in NY and PA
With traffic congestion costing U.S. drivers an average of 51 hours and $869 during 2022, the personal finance website, WalletHub released a report on 2023’s Best and Worst States to Drive In.
According to analyst Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 31 key metrics. The data set ranges from average gas prices to rush hour traffic congestion to road quality and to the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.
This may not come as a surprise to many, but New Jersey is the 11th worst state to drive in, according to the report, just missing the bottom 10.
Why is driving in New Jersey so challenging?
“It ranked in the bottom three just when it comes to its traffic and infrastructure situation. So, the road quality could be a lot better. The bridge quality could be a lot better,” Gonzalez said.
The average commute time by car for a relatively small state is long in minutes. It’s around 46 minutes one way. The average is 28 to 30 minutes, she said.
The share of rush hour traffic congestion is high as well. Almost all of New Jersey’s interstates experience congestion during peak hours.
Auto maintenance costs are also high in the Garden State. It’s one of the more expensive places, even to buy a car, as most of the northeastern states are because the cost of living is higher, Gonzalez explained.
When talking about auto repair and maintenance, that also creeps up as well in New Jersey. It’s not the cheapest place to have a car, and the costs to maintain a vehicle can burn a hole in your wallet, too.
When it comes to gas prices, New Jersey ranks in the middle of the pack. Prices went up over the past year, then prices came down a bit. Gonzalez said the state is in the middle. Some of the southern states have the lowest gas prices. States out west have the highest gas prices, she added.
Where does New Jersey shine?
New Jersey is one of the safest states in the nation, ranking 3rd safest, according to the report.
“That’s not only things like lower instances of traffic indiscipline. There is a pretty high number of adults who always or nearly always wear seat belts.
Despite the concern about car thefts in the Garden State, the rate of thefts actually ranks middle of the pack, according to the survey. Gonzalez said that compared to New York and Pennsylvania, car thefts are relatively low in New Jersey.
As far as access to vehicles, they are easier to come by in New Jersey compared to other states where it’s difficult to not only find a fleet of cars at dealerships but also to find auto repair shops.
In New Jersey, customers can find a lot of cars, Gonzalez said. Typically, that would drive the cost lower but that does not seem to be the case here right now.
Where should New Jersey improve?
It comes down to cost and cost of living, Gonzalez said. Some of the best places to be a driver right now are in the Midwest like Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio. Southern states, like Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas have cheaper gas prices.
Cost is something New Jersey probably can’t control, she said. But when it comes to traffic and especially infrastructure, the road and bridge quality needs to be improved sometime soon.
Iowa is the best state for driving. Georgia ranked second best followed by Ohio, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.
Hawaii is the worst state for driving followed by Washington, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland rounding out the top five.
To view the full report, visit here.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at email@example.com
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