Having a car inspires feelings of freedom and conjures images of the open road. But the reality of being an auto owner can be an entirely different experience. High gas prices, long commutes, and sometimes deadly accidents are daily concerns for drivers.

The drawbacks to car ownership and driving are far more pronounced in some parts of the country than in others. Just as gas prices vary by region, so does the likelihood of congestion, stolen vehicles, and accidents.

12. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
> Traffic fatalities: 10.4 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 30.0 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.2
> Avg. gas price: $2.02 per gallon

The Houston metro area is one of the most populous in the country, which means there are more cars on the road as well. Houston has the fifth most cars used to get to work of any metro area in the country, and that can lead to traffic congestion. The average area commuter loses 26.2 gallons of gas per year and 55.4 hours per year due to slow-moving traffic. Both of those figures are in the top 10 in the country.

Fortunately for drivers, commuting does not cost them too much. Houston’s gas prices are on the cheaper side, averaging just $2.02 per gallon.

24/7 Wall St. created an index from half a dozen driving-related measures to identify the worst cities to drive in. The index components were selected to capture an area’s safety, convenience, and cost of driving. While the metro areas on this list span the United States, a disproportionate share of the worst cities for drivers are in western states — California in particular.

Click here to see the worst cities to drive in.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.