5 of the most expensive states to drive

No. 4: Rhode Island
Rhode Island © Joy Brown/

The smallest state in the union has one of the biggest car tax and insurance burdens in the country and a total annual car ownership cost of $3,913.

Drivers in Rhode Island pay an average of $1,717 a year for automobile taxes and fees, and a one-year car insurance policy costs an average $999. That's 62 percent and 31 percent higher than the national averages, respectively.

On top of the state's 7 percent sales tax, local governments also levy taxes on vehicles. The city of Providence, R.I., for example, charges an annual tax of $60 for each $1,000 of value for the car.

"There was a plan six to eight years ago to phase out the car tax," says Mike Stenhouse, head of local think tank Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity. But then the recession hit, and the state budget tightened. "Unfortunately, localities have come to depend on it," Stenhouse says.

Sources:; the National Association of Insurance Commissioners;; Kelley Blue Book; the Oil Price Information Service; and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The information contained in our index is accurate through 2012 with the exception of insurance data, which is accurate through 2010. All data are subject to change.


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