Chart of the Day: Top 10 States for Vehicle Repair Costs over Time

Via Ritholz and the Wall Street Journal, here’s a chart showing estimates of annual vehicle maintenance costs for different US states, as well as the national average:

vehicle-repairs chart

My gut feeling is that part of this is because the average age of vehicles is increasing, and has been for a decade. People now own their cars for nearly twice as long as they did 15 years ago. Surely that entails many more maintenance costs.

But there’s probably something to the idea that deteriorating roads lead to automobile maintenance costs… Here’s the punchline from the WSJ article:

Using an infrastructure-specific inflation measure, the CBO estimates that in real terms highway spending by federal, state and local governments —which totaled $165 billion in 2014—has fallen by 19% from its peak in 2002. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials says it would cost $740 billion to meet current demand.

Much of the cost is being transferred to individuals and businesses in the form of added vehicle repairs. “The consequence is that we’re all paying more to maintain our cars,” said Genevieve Giuliano, a transportation policy expert at the University of Southern California.


(On the other hand, the story also quotes the American Society of Civil Engineers, a group that might tend to overestimate the social benefits of road investments.)


Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.