The day we were handed our driver's license was the day that our lives truly became free.

At first, that might seem like a bit of an overstatement but when you stop and think about it, that moment was the beginning of a time in our life where we no longer had to rely on someone else to take us where we needed to be, and as long as we had enough gas in the tank, we could go wherever the road would take us.

When associate the places in America where being behind the wheel is a crucial part of everyday life you might imagine heavily populated places like California and New York, where lengthy commutes lead to lots of windshield time. But it's the more spread out places, like South Dakota, where our reliance on our vehicles becomes even more pressing.

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The car buying app CoPilot set out to find the most car-dependent states in America and to do that looked at the latest figures from both the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Statistics Series and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

What they found is that the more rural a state, the greater a need for a vehicle.

That's why South Dakota is considered the fourth most car-dependent state in the country.

Drivers in the Mount Rushmore State cover, on average, 15,541 miles, per motorist, per year. That's a lot but still a far cry from Wyoming, where drivers log more than 24,000 miles each year.

South Dakotans average just under one vehicle per household (0.95) and have 925 licensed drivers per 1,000 people of driving age. Alabama leads the country in both categories with 1,022 drivers per 1,000 and 1.09 vehicles per household.

Nearly 98 percent of working adults in the Mount Rushmore State (97.9%) have access to at least one vehicle.

STATES THAT ARE  MOST CAR-DEPENDENT

  1. Alabama
  2. Montana
  3. Wyoming
  4. South Dakota
  5. Georgia
  6. Utah
  7. Nebraska
  8. Kentucky
  9. New Mexico
  10. New Jersey

Over the past year, COVID-19 has cut into the number of miles that Americans log on a regular basis, which peaked at 271 billion in 2019. But with 50 more cars than licensed drivers in the country, it's only a matter of time before we get back to, or even exceed, those pre-pandemic numbers.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.