Best Cities for Sports Car Owners

NeedForSpeed

On Friday, DreamWorks releases Need for Speed, a movie based on the popular video game. Both the video game and the movie feature fast cars speeding through iconic American cities. But what cities are best for driving sports cars?

If you have a sports car, it’s hard to know where conditions are best for you and your baby. NerdWallet put together a list of the top 10 cities for sports cars, taking into account the probability of speeding tickets and accidents, as well as the cost of insurance and gas. In an homage to Need for Speed, we based the car insurance estimates on the movie‘s star, Aaron Paul, who is 34 years old and drives a Mustang in the movie. Specifically, we looked at the following factors.

1. Is maintaining your car expensive? Car insurance and gas are two major sports car costs. Driving a Mustang is more fun when you’re not spending a lot on upkeep.

2. Can you test your car’s limits?  We included the number of law enforcement officers per capita because it’s hard to enjoy your sports car when you are surrounded by cops.

3. Will you get in an accident? Although dodging obstacles can be fun, getting into an accident most certainly isn’t. In our analysis, we incorporated the likelihood of getting in an accident when compared to the national average.

Key Findings:

  • Washington D.C. had both the most police per 10,000 residents (65.6) and the highest likelihood of getting in an accident (107% higher than the national average).
  • Raleigh had the cheapest gas and the cheapest car insurance on the list.
  • It is impractical to own a sports car in a major U.S. city.

Many of the best cities for sports car owners are near racetracks and speedways. Check out NerdWallet’s list below to see if your city is suitable for sports cars.

1. Omaha, Neb.

It’s not hard to be a sports car owner in Omaha — home to the headquarters of the Nebraska Region Sports Car Club of America. The average cost to insure a 2014 Mustang GT is $2,325.56 a year, and the city is also tied with Raleigh and Charlotte for the lowest gas prices at $3.14 per gallon. There are plenty of races at the I-80 Speedway, about 30 miles away in Greenwood. And while no one’s saying you have a need for speed, it might be nice to know that Omaha has the third lowest number of police per 10,000 residents (with 17) on NerdWallet’s list. So if you accidently hit that gas pedal a little too hard on your way to the speedway, you might escape a ticket.

2. Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh is the cheapest spot on NerdWallet’s list for insurance. It’ll only run you $1,915.83 a year to insure a 2014 Mustang GT in this city. With Wake County Speedway nearby, it’s a good spot for the sports car enthusiast. However, leave the thirst for speed on the speedways, or you’ll wind up paying a fine. North Carolina ranked No. 8 on a list of top 10 states you’re most likely to get a ticket, according to Esurance.

3. Tucson, Ariz.

The cost to insure your Mustang will be $2,572.15 a year in Tucson, but it’s a great place to catch some action at the conveniently located Tucson Speedway. Tucson residents can join the Arizona Border Region Sports Car Club of America. The roads are pretty safe for your Mustang, as you are 14.3% less likely to get in a car accident compared with the national average.

4. Nashville, Tenn.

Nashville is home to the Fairgrounds Speedway, a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racetrack. The city where it costs $2,445.34 to insure the 2014 Mustang GT is also only 30 minutes away from the headquarters of the Tennessee Region Sports Car Club of America in Smyrna. And the likelihood that Nashville drivers will get in an accident is low: 8.7% less than the national average. Watch your speed in Nashville, though. The city has the second-highest amount of police presence on NerdWallet’s list, with 20.9 per 10,000 residents, so you’ll have to stay under the limit to avoid a ticket.

5. El Paso, Texas

Home of the El Paso Speedway Park, this city has the second lowest ranking on NerdWallet’s list when it comes to cost of insurance. It’ll cost you $1,937.79 to insure that 2014 Mustang GT in El Paso. NerdWallet’s research shows there are only 17.3 law enforcement officers per 10,000 residents, but watch out — Esurance rated Texas at No. 5 on its ticketing list.

6. Fresno, Calif.

Home to the Fresno Chapter of the Sports Car Club of America, Fresno is about a half-hour away from Madera Speedway. Fresno has the second-lowest number of police officers per 10,000 residents (with 16.4). However, it’s in California, the fourth-most ticket-happy state, so keep your eyes peeled on the roads. Gas prices in Fresno are $3.30 per gallon, and it’ll cost an average of $2,839.29 a year to insure a Mustang.

7. Mesa, Ariz.

Mesa has the lowest likelihood of accident (14.5% less than the national average), but unfortunately the city is also home to the highest insurance costs on NerdWallet’s list by a long shot. It’ll cost $5,763.08 to insure your Mustang in Mesa. However, you’ll only be half an hour away from Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley.

8. San Diego, Calif.

San Diego is home to southern California’s largest indoor off-road racing track, SCRC Raceway. This city, where it will cost you $2,541.41 a year to insure a Mustang, is seeing growth in its sports car community. After a few years’ hiatus, the San Diego Region Sports Car Club of America will return to road racing in 2014. Also, San Diego has the lowest amount of police officers patrolling, with only 14.2 per 10,000 residents, according to NerdWallet’s research. So give that gas a little punch.

9. Charlotte, N.C.

Maybe ease up on the gas pedal a bit in Charlotte. Out of NerdWallet’s top 10 list, Charlotte has the most police presence — 21.3 officers per 10,000 residents — as well as the highest likelihood of an accident at 13.8%. But feel free to drive a few extra miles — gas is only $3.14 per gallon (tied for the lowest on the list) in Charlotte. It will cost $2,035.20 a year to insure your new Mustang in this city, but you can show it off to other car lovers who’ve stopped into town for the annual Sports Car Club of America convention, which was held in Charlotte this past weekend.

10. Virginia Beach, Va.

Though about 40 minutes away from the headquarters of Tidewater Sports Car Club in Suffolk, Virginia Beach is often home to club events. Pungo Airfield has hosted car shows and autocross events. The cost to insure a 2014 Mustang GT in Virginia Beach is $2,044.06, and gas will run you $3.27 per gallon. There are 17.8 police officers per 10,000 residents in Virginia Beach, but Esurance did rank the state No. 7 on its most-ticketed list, so be careful of showing off your Mustang too much on Virginia roads. 

Methodology:

The overall score for car owners was derived from the following measures:

1. Car insurance rates from NerdWallet’s insurance tool. We used the profile of a 34-year-old male without any history of accidents, insuring a 2014 Ford Mustang GT with extended coverage (100/300/50 with a $500 deductible). In calculating insurance averages for each city, we only used ZIP codes within city limits.

2. Gas prices from AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report on Feb. 27, 2014.

3. The likelihood of an accident from AllState’s 2013 Best Driver study. Allstate did not have data for Boston in their study, so we left Boston off our list.

4. The number of law enforcement officers per capita from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The Uniform Crime Reporting Program did not have data for Columbus, Ohio.

Disclaimer: NerdWallet does not condone any speeding or risky driving.

Best Cities for Sports Car Owners

Ranking City Car Insurance Police / 10,000 people Likelihood of accident compared to the national average Gas Price (Feb. 27, 2014) Weighted Total
1 Omaha $2,325.56 17 -1.8% 3.139 93.68
2 Raleigh $1,915.83 18.3 3.5% 3.139 92.21
3 Tucson $2,572.15 18.5 -14.3% 3.297 92.05
4 Nashville $2,445.34 20.9 -8.7% 3.202 91.58
5 El Paso $1,937.79 17.3 3.9% 3.202 91.27
6 Fresno $2,839.29 16.4 1.2% 3.297 89.12
7 Mesa $5,763.08 17.1 -14.5% 3.297 88.51
8 San Diego $2,541.41 14.2 12.7% 3.297 87.98
9 Charlotte $2,035.20 21.3 13.8% 3.139 87.83
10 Virginia Beach $2,044.06 17.8 11.2% 3.269 87.59
11 Minneapolis $3,869.72 22.8 -0.9% 3.192 86.86
12 Kansas City $3,072.59 29.1 -11.0% 3.192 86.82
13 Wichita $2,914.03 16.7 -3.4% 3.448 86.64
14 Phoenix $3,568.01 20.4 -1.1% 3.297 86.39
15 Fort Worth $1,977.70 20.2 18.8% 3.202 85.94
16 Tulsa $3,159.61 18.7 -14.3% 3.537 85.86
17 San Jose $2,985.71 13 21.9% 3.297 85.82
18 Portland $2,956.56 17 17.8% 3.297 84.58
19 Sacramento $3,145.46 14.7 22.8% 3.297 84.41
20 San Antonio $4,166.84 16.5 23.3% 3.202 83.94

Worst Cities for Sports Car Owners 

Ranking City Car Insurance Police / 1000 People Likelihood of an accident compared to the national average Gas Price (Feb. 27, 2014) Weighted Average
1 Washington $3,610.25 65.6 107.3% 3.735 24.58
2 Baltimore $2,968.53 46.3 88.7% 3.564 44.75
3 Chicago $4,070.15 44.2 30% 4.05 48.03
4 New York City $4,815.02 41.8 37.6% 3.722 53.73
5 Detroit $14,533.59 32.1 12.2% 3.564 55.53
6 Philadelphia $2,685.56 43.2 60.2% 3.363 58.25
7 Miami $5,763.08 24.9 43.1% 3.459 66.50
8 Cleveland $2,884.16 36.6 -0.2% 3.722 68.54
9 San Francisco $3,187.23 27.5 57.3% 3.297 68.67
10 Atlanta $3,832.04 30 26.4% 3.457 70.35

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