Americans lose an average of $869 per year due to time spent in traffic  and a new report on 2023’s Best & Worst Cities to Drive in, sheds insight on where you may or may not want to be in your vehicle

To determine the most driver-friendly places in the U.S., WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 30 key metrics. The data set ranges from average gas prices to annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter to auto-repair shops per capita.

Best Cities for DrivingWorst Cities for Driving
1. Corpus Christi, TX91. Stockton, CA
2. Raleigh, NC92. Seattle, WA
3. Boise, ID93. New York, NY
4. Plano, TX94. Chicago, IL
5. Scottsdale, AZ95. Philadelphia, PA
6. Greensboro, NC96. Los Angeles, CA
7. Laredo, TX97. Washington, DC
8. Lubbock, TX98. Detroit, MI
9. Lincoln, NE99. San Francisco, CA
10. Jacksonville, FL100. Oakland, CA

Best vs. Worst

  • Henderson, Nevada, has the lowest traffic fatality rate (per 100,000 residents), 1.61, which is 23.3 times lower than in Memphis, Tennessee, the city with the highest at 37.53.
  • Gilbert, Arizona, has the fewest car thefts (per 1,000 residents), 0.58, which is 26.4 times fewer than Oakland, California, the city with the most at 15.33.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas, has the lowest average gas price, $3.36 per gallon, which is 1.6 times lower than in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, the cities with the highest at $5.35 per gallon.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida, has the lowest average parking rate, $0.60 per two hours, which is 69.8 times lower than in New York, the city with the highest at $41.87 per two hours.

Money-saving Tips

“Driving behavior has a substantial impact on fuel economy. Educating drivers about adopting an eco-friendlier driving style is paramount. This includes gradual acceleration and braking, maintaining a consistent (and moderate) cruising speed on highways, and avoiding aggression. By implementing these techniques, drivers can significantly reduce fuel consumption and, consequently, their expenses.

“Regular maintenance is another vital aspect of cost-effective and efficient driving. Scheduled tune-ups encompassing tasks like tire inflation and rotation, oil changes, air filter replacements, and spark plug maintenance can improve fuel efficiency by 10% or even more for certain vehicles,” said Joshua Siegel, assistant professor, at Michigan State University.

“Be sure your tires are properly inflated, low tire pressures reduce fuel economy. Be sure you keep only what you need in your vehicle, extra weight reduces fuel economy. Be sure your vehicle is serviced and maintained regularly to work at top efficiency. Proper tires: Hybrid (HEV), Plug-In hybrid (PHEV), EVs (BEV), and Fuel Cell vehicles (FCEV) use low rolling resistance tires. Sometimes owners replace them with ‘Standard’ tires that will directly affect fuel economy / Range. Vehicles that require Premium fuel will have reduced fuel economy when using lower octane fuel because the vehicle’s computers will ‘De-tune’ the engine, and as a result the driver will accelerate harder, thus using more fuel. Plan trips to include multiple stops vs. making individual trips to run each errand when possible. Ease up on the right foot, a little more time saves money,” said Kurt Shadbolt,  instructor, at Chabot College.

Reducing Traffic and Improving Safety

“Local authorities should invest in road Infrastructure to accommodate growing populations and reduce bottlenecks. They should also invest in digital infrastructure and employ novel intelligent transportation systems. We can utilize technology and data to optimize traffic flow, reduce congestion, improve safety, and increase energy efficiency,” said Junfeng Zhao, assistant professor, at Arizona State University.

“Traffic Is a manifestation of the demand for transportation. Thus, the most effective way to reduce is to induce changes in transportation demand. Using incentives to employers and commercial establishments to change the work hours could reduce traffic without much trouble to all involved. Ask yourself, why do 40% of travelers travel in the peak hours? Shifting the time of travel by 1-2 hours could have tremendous impacts on congestion, emissions, and accidents. The off-hour delivery project in NYC designed by our research by our research group and implemented by the NYC Department of Transportation, has succeeded in changing the time of delivery to the off-hours (7 PM-6 AM). These trucks produce 65% less pollution than the ones driving in the congested hours of the day,” said José Holguín-Veras, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Biggest Infrastructure Challenges in U.S. Cities

“There are a lot of infrastructure challenges, but one that I would like to comment on is the fact that we have so much of what I would call ‘legacy infrastructure’ – things that were designed for a world that’s changed, and which continues to change. If you look at very old cities, their roads were designed for horses and carriages, and aren’t ideally suited for cars. Similarly, as we develop autonomous vehicles, we’ll find that many infrastructure decisions that were made with human-driven cars in mind aren’t optimal for autonomous vehicles. Some of them may be things we haven’t thought about; we may find that, for autonomous vehicles, a different kind of lane marking would be best. Perhaps stoplights should change, or signs should be reconfigured, and that’s not even beginning to think about connectivity and V2X (Vehicle to ‘X’ communications, where ‘X’ could be other vehicles, infrastructure, etc.) We cannot afford to completely reconfigure our infrastructure, even if we know exactly what it should look like, so we are going to have to both repair what we have and retrofit it as best we can for automated vehicles. In the future, we are likely to see some kind of co-evolution of infrastructure and vehicles, where the vehicles adapt partially to our legacy infrastructure and the infrastructure is reconfigured where possible to vehicles, and over time both vehicles and infrastructure change and influence each other in complex ways,” added Diane Peters, associate professor, Kettering University.

“Many cities have aged infrastructure systems, including bridges, roads, and water pipes, that are in disrepair and need of significant investment for maintenance and upgrades. Integrating emerging transportation technologies like automated vehicles, electric scooters, smart traffic management systems, and ridesharing services into existing infrastructure and regulations posed a challenge as well,” Zhao said.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit: here

Source: WalletHub