In New Jersey, the cost of everything is high. So it probably will not surprise you to know that we are the 8th-worst state in the country when it comes to owning and operating a motor vehicle.

A survey by found factors such as the nation's highest auto insurance rates and a high average cost for vehicle repairs, coupled with long commuting times, generated the sticker shock. According to Bankrate analyst Claes Bell, "all of those things together kind of pushed New Jersey down our ranks."

New Jersey has the highest insurance rates in the country, according to the data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Bell says the average commute time is longer than 31 minutes in New Jersey. That is nearly double what it is in the states with the shortest commute times.

But Bell says the news for New Jersey drivers wasn't all bad.

"The roads in New Jersey are relatively safe, compared to other places in the country. Auto theft is relatively low."

The survey of costs and cares associated with owning and operating a vehicle was an attempt to look at the differing driving experiences from state to state.

"We tried to gather a bunch of data to describe the entire experience of driving, everything from the cost that you end up paying, to the time that you spend in your vehicle, to the safety of the roads and the state. When we brought that all together, we get a balanced picture of what driving in the state is like."

The survey found Iowa was the best state to own a car because of low insurance rates and short commute times. Ohio came in second. Maine, Wisconsin and Vermont rounded out the top-five list.

At the other end of the scale, California showed up last because of high auto repair costs, car thefts and long commute times.

"I think that it is just important for people to be cognizant of their transportation costs and how much they are spending on cars. For most households, transportation is the second-biggest expense after housing, and so that is going grab a major chunk of most households' expenses."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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