These Are the Best (and Worst) Cities to Drive in Right Now

Several cities in California are ranked among the worst.

Lorde once sang, “in your car, the radio up / in your car, the radio up,” and by doing so, the New Zealand pop star captured the reality of most Americans' lives. Because, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 87% of daily trips in the United States take place in personal vehicles. With COVID-19, the sale of personal vehicles increased by 9%, as taking public transportation and sharing a morning commute with strangers has lost much of its appeal. That means many Americans are spending more time out on the road in their cars in traffic on their way to work, school, and everywhere else.

Is the traffic just your imagination? Do you feel like you are exaggerating when you complain to family and friends about how impossible it is to find parking or how you avoid traveling at certain times of the day because of guaranteed gridlocks? Fortunately, personal finance site WalletHub has released a ranking of the best and worst cities to drive in for 2021, comparing the 100 largest cities in America based on 30 different parameters. With this ranking, you'll be able to contextualize your city compared to the rest of the country.

Best cities to drive in the US:
15. Durham, North Carolina
14. Charlotte, North Carolina
13. Buffalo, New York
12. Orlando, Florida
11. Plano, Texas
10. Austin, Texas
9. Tampa, Florida
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
7. Jacksonville, Florida
6. Boise, Idaho
5. Corpus Christi, Texas
4. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
3. Greensboro, North Carolina
2. Lincoln, Nevada
1. Raleigh, North Carolina

Worst cities to drive in the US:
15. Honolulu, Hawaii
14. Newark, New Jersey
13. Stockton, California
12. Seattle, Washington
11. San Jose, California
10. San Bernardino, California
9. Washington, DC
8. Baltimore, Maryland
7. Los Angeles, California
6. Chicago, Illinois
5. New York, New York
4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
3. San Francisco, California
2. Detroit, Michigan
1. Oakland, California

Raleigh, North Carolina remains the best city to drive in after coming in first place in 2019 as well. As for the worst cities to drive in, Oakland and Detroit switch for the first and second spots compared to 2019. Overall, it seems like North Carolina has some of the best conditions for drivers, while California has some of the worst. Factors like infrastructure, the cost of owning and maintaining a car, accident likelihood, and the number of car dealerships per capita all impact each city's score. Don't see your city in the rankings above? See WalletHub's full list of cities here.

And as a resident of one of the worst cities to drive, I couldn't leave you without a heartfelt suggestion: Public transportation is wonderful! Sometimes you might be stuck in the same traffic jams or roadways under construction, but at least you are suffering among your community. Just make sure to wear a mask.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.