There is always the debate of which state has better drivers and which state is better to drive in between Iowans and Illinoisans. Are this time of year, we get a study to answer one of those questions.

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Every January, we get the answer that Iowa is better to drive in than its neighboring state to the east. If you drive on the roads of the Quad Cities, you'll get the answer to the other question pretty quickly.

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We officially have an answer for which state is the best state to drive in both compared to Illinois and the rest of the U.S. Hint, it's Iowa.

Iowa Remains As The Best State To Drive In

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Once again, WalletHub has conducted a study to show 2024's Best and Worst States to Drive in. To figure this out and to rank the states, WalletHub compared the 50 states across four key dimensions:

  1. Cost of Ownership & Maintenance
  2. Traffic & Infrastructure
  3. Safety
  4. Access to Vehicles & Maintenance

WalletHub evaluated those dimensions using 31 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the best for drivers.

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Finally, WalletHub did a bunch of math and determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics. That allowed them to calculate their overall score and use each state's score to rank-order the states.

In 2022 and 2023 WalletHub got the same results for Iowa, and that's #1. How did Illinois do? Let's just say they are dropping like a rock.

This is WalletHub's List of 2024's Best and Worst States to Drive in:

Source: WalletHub

According to WalletHubIowa is the best state to drive in for the second year in a row. In 2022 and 2023, WalletHub also crowned Iowa as the best state to drive in.

Iowa ranked 6th in Share of Rush-Hour Traffic Congestion (same in 2022 & 2023), 17th in Traffic Fatality Rate (23rd in 2022, 21st in 2023), 9th in Car Theft Rate (21st in 2022 & 2023), 21st in Auto-Repair Shops per Capita (same in 2022 & 2023), 9th in Average Gas Prices (14th in 2022, 13th in 2023), 19th in Auto-Maintenance Costs (28th in 2022. 20th in 2023), 10th in Road Quality (4th in 2022, same in 2023), and 13th in Car Dealerships per Capita (15th in 2022, 12th in 2023).

Iowa had an overall score of 65.87 (62.04 in 2022, 62.61 in 2023 (the best out of any state)) and ranked in the following four key dimensions:

  1. Cost of Ownership & Maintenance - 5th (same in 2022, 7th in 2023)
  2. Traffic & Infrastructure - 6th (7th in 2022, 9th in 2023)
  3. Safety - 30th (38th in 2022, 35th in 2023)
  4. Access to Vehicles & Maintenance - 18th (22nd in 2022, 19th in 2023)

What Is Happening In Illinois?

Illinois is dropping like a rock year after year on this list. Back in 2022, Illinois ranked as the 9th best state to drive in, but in 2023, Illinois was named the 13th best state to drive in, knocking them out of the top 10. For 2024, it's the 23rd-best state to drive in. Ouch!

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From the statistics we received from WalletHub, Illinois ranked 4th in Car Washes per Capita, which is better than Iowa.

Illinois had an overall score of 57.47 (59.71 in 2022, 58.58 in 2023) and ranked in the following four key dimensions:

  1. Cost of Ownership & Maintenance - 40th (34th in 2022 & 2023)
  2. Traffic & Infrastructure - 37th (36th in 2022, 34th in 2023)
  3. Safety - 5th (6th in 2022, 8th in 2023)
  4. Access to Vehicles & Maintenance - 5th (same in 2022 & 2023)

You can see how the other 48 states ranked here.

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