Washington takes 42nd place for drivers’ cost and convenience

A release this week reports that 67 percent of roads are “poor or mediocre” in Washington state.
A release this week reports that 67 percent of roads are “poor or mediocre” in Washington state. Staff file, 2015

Gas is cheap (well, relatively cheap), and Americans are driving more than ever before.

As it turns out, however, Washington isn’t the best state for drivers.

Washington drivers have it better than drivers in eight other states — and worse than drivers in the other 41.

Americans drove 3.1 trillion miles in 2015, which is an all-time record and 3.5 percent higher than the mileage accumulated in 2014, according to AAA.

But Washington is nowhere near the top-rated states for driving as assessed by Carinsurance.com and noted in a release this week. Data came from public and private agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Insurance Information Institute

Utah took the top spot, followed by Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, Vermont and so on down the list. California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi were parked at the bottom.

Washington took 42nd place when graded by a series of criteria including:

Estimated percentage of uninsured motorists on the road: 16.1 percent vs. 5.8 percent in Utah.

Number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 population: 6.5, which is pretty good. It’s 6.6 in Minnesota, which placed second in the all-state survey.

Percentage of roads in poor or mediocre condition: 67 percent against 25 percent in Utah. You’ll need to go down the list to Illinois, at No. 31 with 73 percent, to find any state worse than Washington.

Bridges deemed structurally deficient: 26 percent vs. 17 percent at No. 4 Colorado.

Estimated extra cost of car repair due to bad roads: $272 hereabouts vs. $197 in Utah.

Average cost of a gallon of gas: $2.29, the fourth highest of all 50 states behind California, Hawaii and Nevada.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535