Business Autos

Taxes or gasoline: What drives up cost of driving in California?

Taxes, not gasoline prices, are the reason California is the state with the second-highest cost for operating a car, Bankrate.com contends.

Californians pay an average $1,809 in taxes and fees for their cars, the financial website said. That’s almost double the national average of $1,058.

Overall, Californians pay an average of $3,966 annually to operate a vehicle. That compares with a national average of $3,201.

Drivers here pay an average of $980 for gasoline, slightly below the $1,028 average.

That may sound odd considering pump prices in California are among the highest in the nation, but Bankrate cites federal data that show residents here drive fewer miles than the national average. Californians drive about 8,600 miles per capita compared with the national average of 9,600, according to the Department of Transportation.

PHOTOS: The 10 cheapest cars that get 35 mpg or better.

When it comes to insurance, Californians pay an average $786, just above the $762 national average.  They pay $390 for repairs, somewhat higher than the $353 national average.

Georgia, at $4,233, has the highest annual cost of motor vehicle operation; Oregon at $2,698 is the least expensive. Oregonians benefit from the absence of a state sales tax as well as relatively low car insurance costs, Bankrate said.

Bankrate said it determined total car-ownership expenses using median insurance premiums for 2006 to 2010 from the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners, average 2012 repair costs from CarMD.com and taxes and fees from Kelley Blue Book. It derived gasoline spending from government statistics and GasBuddy.com average pump prices.

Follow me on Twitter (@LATimesJerry), Facebook and Google+.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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