auto

5 of the cheapest states to own a car

5 of the cheapest states to own a car
5 of the cheapest states to own a car © Jason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock.com

Ah, summer. It's that time when temperatures rise, tourists hit the highways and gas prices inevitably soar.

The price of gasoline gets a lot of attention at this time of year, even though it's only part of the equation when determining the overall cost of operating a car. Other factors such as taxes, insurance and repairs can have an even bigger impact on your bottom line. Bankrate's first-ever Car Cost Index, in fact, shows that in some states, lower operating costs more than offset high gas prices.

The index compares the cost of car ownership for every state. Bankrate determined these costs using average car insurance costs provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, average repair costs from CarMD.com, and taxes and fees from Kelley Blue Book. Gasoline spending was estimated using average pump prices for 2012 from GasBuddy.com. Bankrate didn't include data on vehicle depreciation in its analysis, since geography isn't a major factor in determining that cost.

Here are the five cheapest states to own a car, in order from most to least expensive. And, guess what -- they're not cheap because of the gas.

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