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The most expensive state to own a car? It's...

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Yellowstone National Park/AP/File

(Read caption) Damage to a Yellowstone National Park road caused by the park’s ever-changing thermal features in the park in Wyoming. Wyoming is the most expensive state for car ownership, according to a recent study by Bankrate.

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Cars are pricey these days -- and they're quickly getting pricier. But a new ride costs more than the sum printed on the window sticker, and sadly, many shoppers fail to consider the costs of car ownership when looking for their next vehicle. In some places, that's not such a big deal, but in others, it could cause quite a shock when the bills are due.

According to Bankrate, states in the Midwest rank among the cheapest places to own cars. The South and Northeast, however? Not so much.

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Bankrate analyzed data from CarMD, GasBuddy, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to determine average costs of car ownership for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The site looked particularly at fuel expenses, repairs, and insurance premiums.

On average, car owners in the U.S. pay $2,223 each year to stay on the road. In Wyoming, however, motorists pay about $500 more: $2,705. Though their annual repair bills come in at a respectable $324, and their insurance premiums are on the low side at $792, they pay through the nose for gasoline: about $1,588 per year. That's not because gas is exponentially higher in Wyoming, but because residents drive 68 percent farther than the average U.S. motorist (a downside of those beautiful, wide-open spaces)

Louisiana comes in second place, with an average yearly cost of car ownership of $2,555 thanks to the highest auto premiums in the country ($1,277 per year). Florida is just behind at $2,516, due to relatively high fuel and insurance costs.

At the other end of the scale, the cheapest place to own a car is Iowa, where motorists pay $1,942 per year thanks to low across-the-board expenses. Ohio ($1,973) and Illinois ($1,999) are the only other states with costs of ownership below $2,000.

To see how your state stacks up, check out this chart at Bankrate.com.


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