Having a car inspires feelings of freedom and conjures images of the open road. But the reality of being an auto owner can be an entirely different experience. High gas prices, long commutes, and sometimes deadly accidents are daily concerns for drivers.
The drawbacks to car ownership and driving are far more pronounced in some parts of the country than in others. Just as gas prices vary by region, so does the likelihood of congestion, stolen vehicles, and accidents.
> Traffic fatalities: 5.2 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 33.6 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 0.9
> Avg. gas price: $2.97 per gallon
Gas prices tend to be high in California, and San Francisco is no exception. Gas in the San Francisco metro area costs an average of $2.97 per gallon, the most of any U.S. metro area except the San Jose metro area. High gas prices are especially costly to area drivers as delays due to traffic jams account for an average of 27 wasted gallons of fuel per year per driver, one of the higher totals in the U.S.
Car theft is also a major problem for motorists in the Bay Area. There are about 640 car thefts for every 100,000 residents per year, more than six times the national rate.
24/7 Wall St. created an index from half a dozen driving-related measures to identify the worst cities to drive in. The index components were selected to capture an area’s safety, convenience, and cost of driving. While the metro areas on this list span the United States, a disproportionate share of the worst cities for drivers are in western states — California in particular.