Ranking state oil addiction

Pulling up to the gas pump nowadays, I can't help but notice that prices are creeping upwards again and be reminded of the amazing price trends of 2008, our 4/11 moment when gas prices breached the $4-per-gallon mark.

With this as the backdrop, we decided to take a look at the burden this poses for households. NRDC has been benchmarking this for the past few years, as you can see here, here and here. Our new analysis features a ranking of all 50 states based on the vulnerability of household budgets to gasoline prices. This is especially relevant nowadays, in spite of prices that eased compared to 2008, because household budgets have sadly shrunk as well. This means that the squeeze on budgets is undiminished.

And we looked at a hypothetical price spike scenario, gauging the burden if prices jumped to their July 2008 peak (not out of the realm of possibility if, for example, there's a terrorist strike in the Strait of Hormuz and/or the massive Abqaiq refinery in Saudi Arabia is bombed).

In the case of the spike, the percentage of household budgets going to gasoline would be around ten percent for most of the states in the top ten most vulnerable.

Hypotheticals aside, the list of states with drivers paying the most as a percentage of income (from most to least) is:

  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Kentucky
  • Texas
  • Maine
  • Georgia
  • Idaho

Those spending the least on average are:

  • Florida
  • Washington
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Colorado
  • New Hampshire
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Connecticut

In short, this remains a pressing issue for a lot of us across the country. Fortunately, new federal policy can move us forward to a world where we have more choice, in vehicles, in fuels and in mobility. Specifically, NRDC urges Congress to:

• Pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation that limits carbon dioxide emissions, helps us break our oil addiction, and helps create millions of clean energy jobs here in the United States; and

• Fundamentally reform federal transportation policy to support smart, transit-oriented development; assist states and regions in saving oil; and provide ample funding for energy-efficient transportation alternatives including rail and bus lines, bike paths, sidewalks, and other alternatives to driving.

For the full analysis, click here.