Worst U.S. Cities to Drive In

Driving is usually comfortable and convenient, but it can also be an expensive and time-consuming hassle.

American drivers spend, on average, more than 290 hours a year on the road, according to the American Automobile Association. For a full-time worker, that's the equivalent of a seven-week vacation.

With the time and money wasted burning gasoline in traffic, the annual cost of traffic for each American household is $1,700, according to INRIX, a company that analyzes transportation.

And don't forget the cost of parking and maintenenance.

Some cities are better than others for those behind the wheel. To determine those places, personal finance site WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 29 key indicators of driver-friendliness. The data set includes the cost of buying and maintaining a car, traffic and infrastructure, average gas prices, insurance costs, safety, weather, vehicle thefts, annual hours in traffic congestion and auto-repair shops per capita.

Here are the cities that are the worst for drivers, based on the overall rankings.

Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

1. Detroit
1. Detroit

1. Detroit

Motor City, home of the North American International Auto Show, ranks overall out of 100 cities as the worst city for drivers. Detroit, along with Albuquerque and Oakland, Calif., also has the highest rate of car thefts and is the second worst in the safety category.

Photo: Darren Brode / Shutterstock

2. San Francisco
2. San Francisco

2. San Francisco

San Francisco is one of five cities in which drivers spent the most hours annually in congestion, per commuter. Average gas prices here are higher than any other city reviewed.

Photo: Ben Bryant / Shutterstock

3. Oakland, Calif.
3. Oakland, Calif.

3. Oakland, Calif.

Just across the bridge from San Francisco, there's no relief: Oakland ranks third worst. Along with Albuquerque and Detroit, Oakland also the highest rate of car thefts. Gas prices here are among the highest of all the cities.

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Philadelphia
4. Philadelphia

4. Philadelphia

Besides being fourth-worst overall, Philadelphia also has one of the highest likelihood of accidents, compared with the national average. Above, Philly's Schuylkill Expressway.

Photo: Winston Tan / Shutterstock

5. Seattle
5. Seattle

5. Seattle

Seattle is one of the five cities that aggravates drivers with the most days of rainy weather. Auto maintenance costs here are among the highest in the nation. Above, drivers take a car ferry between Bainbridge Island and downtown Seattle.

Photo: Frank Fell / Shutterstock

6. Boston
6. Boston

6. Boston

Drivers here are most likely to have an accident, compared with the national average. Boston also has the fewest auto-repair shops per capita of all the cities in the study, and is one of the cities with the fewest car washes, too. Auto maintenance and parking costs here are among the highest in the nation.

Photo: Shutterstock

7. New York City
7. New York City

7. New York City

New York is one of five cities in which drivers spent the most hours annually in congestion, per commuter. It was the worst for traffic and infrastructure. Auto maintenance costs here are the highest in the nation. Parking? Fuhgedaboudit. But on the plus side, it was in the top three for access to vehicles and maintenance.

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Newark, N.J.
8. Newark, N.J.

8. Newark, N.J.

Newark ranks among the five worst cities for traffic and infrastructure.

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Los Angeles
9. Los Angeles

9. Los Angeles

Gas prices here are among the highest, and L.A. is one of five cities in which drivers spend the most hours annually in congestion, per commuter. Drivers here also face one of the highest likelihoods of having an accident, compared with the national average.

Photo: View Apart / Shutterstock

10. Chicago
10. Chicago

10. Chicago

Parking costs in Chicago are among the highest in the nation.

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Washington, D.C.
11. Washington, D.C.

11. Washington, D.C.

Drivers here face one of the highest likelihoods of having an accident, compared with the national average. D.C. also has the fewest auto-repair shops per capita of all the cities in the study.

Photo: Shutterstock

12. Baltimore
12. Baltimore

12. Baltimore

Drivers here face one of the highest likelihoods of having an accident, compared with the national average.

Photo: Shutterstock

13. San Jose, Calif.
13. San Jose, Calif.

13. San Jose, Calif.

Gas prices here are among the highest of all the cities.

Photo: Shutterstock

14. San Bernardino, Calif.
14. San Bernardino, Calif.

14. San Bernardino, Calif.

This southern California city has one of the five highest rates of car thefts. It also has the fewest car washes per capita, after Garland, Texas.

Photo: Atomicwarrior76/Wikipedia

15. Honolulu
15. Honolulu

15. Honolulu

Auto maintenance costs here are among the highest in the nation.

Photo: Shutterstock

16. Cleveland, Ohio
16. Cleveland, Ohio

16. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is one of the five cities that gets the most days with precipitation. It also has one of the highest rates of automobile thefts.

Photo: Shutterstock

17. Long Beach, Calif.
17. Long Beach, Calif.

17. Long Beach, Calif.

Gas prices here are among the highest of all the cities.

Photo: Shutterstock

18. Jersey City, N.J.
18. Jersey City, N.J.

18. Jersey City, N.J.

Jersey City was one of five cities with the fewest car washes per capita.

Photo: Shutterstock

19. Milwaukee
19. Milwaukee

19. Milwaukee

Photo: Shutterstock

20. Aurora, Colo.
20. Aurora, Colo.

20. Aurora, Colo.

Aurora, just east of Denver, was one of the 10 worst cities for traffic and infrastructure.

Photo: Shutterstock

21. Stockton, Calif.
21. Stockton, Calif.

21. Stockton, Calif.

Stockton was one of the worst cities (98 out of 100) for access to vehicles and maintenance.

Photo: Shutterstock

22. New Orleans
22. New Orleans

22. New Orleans

New Orleans was one of five cities with the fewest auto-repair shops per capita.

Photo: edella / Shutterstock

23. Hialeah, Fla.
23. Hialeah, Fla.

23. Hialeah, Fla.

Hialeah, one of the six largest cities in Florida, is just outside Miami.

Photo: Ivan Curra/Wikipedia

24. Buffalo, N.Y.
24. Buffalo, N.Y.

24. Buffalo, N.Y.

Buffalo is one of the five cities that gets the most days with rainy weather.

Photo: Shutterstock

25. Albuquerque
25. Albuquerque

25. Albuquerque

Albuquerque, along with Oakland, Calif. and Detroit, has the highest rate of car thefts. Above, Route 66 passes through Albuquerque.

Photo: Gimas / Shutterstock

26. Denver
26. Denver

26. Denver

Denver ranked No. 29 out of 100 cities for safety, and No. 87 for traffic and infrastructure.

Photo: photo-denver / Shutterstock

27. Miami
27. Miami

27. Miami

Miami is one of five cities in which drivers spent the most hours annually in congestion, per commuter. It was, however, the best city for access to vehicles and maintenance.

Photo: Gregory Alan Eagle / Shutterstock

28. Santa Ana, Calif.
28. Santa Ana, Calif.

28. Santa Ana, Calif.

Despite being on this list, the southern California city ranks in the top 10 for safety.

Photo: seesaw1 / Shutterstock

29. Pittsburgh
29. Pittsburgh

29. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is one of the five cities that aggravates drivers with the most days with precipitation.

Photo: Shutterstock

30. San Diego
30. San Diego

30. San Diego

San Diego is one of the five cities with the highest parking rates. On the plus side, it's in the top 10 for both safety and access to vehicles and maintenance.

Wondering which city is best for drivers? Raleigh, N.C.

To see how your city ranked, view the full study at WalletHub.

Photo: Mikhail Pogosov / Shutterstock

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