Press Release

Report Ranks States Most Vulnerable to Rising Gas Prices

When oil prices go up, families in many states suffer

Serena Ingre, NRDC, 202/289-2378

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2007) -- A report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) ranks, for the first time, states based on their vulnerability to high gas prices and on policies that protect consumers and the environment and reduce vulnerability to oil price increases.
“Filling the tank is a burden nowadays,” said Deron Lovaas, energy analyst at NRDC. “The good news is that some states are enacting policies which give consumers vehicle and fuel choices. Now federal policymakers must follow suit by boosting fuel economy standards and supporting renewable fuels.”
The report, Addicted to Oil: Ranking States’ Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change (pdf) ranks all 50 states based on the hit drivers take to their wallets, showing that while oil dependence affects all states, some are hit harder economically than others. Generally, the most vulnerable states are in the South and the least vulnerable are in the Northeast. 
A second ranking shows that while some states are pioneering solutions like promoting clean cars, clean fuels, and smart growth, others are taking little or no action. In fact, about one-third of states are taking few, if any, steps to reduce their oil dependence.
Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming are the states doing the least to reduce their oil dependence.  
In contrast,California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washingtonaredoing the most to promote energy-saving policies to wean themselves from oil.
Citizens in the most vulnerable state -- Mississippi -- spend an average of more than 6 percent of their per capita income on gasoline -- that is two-and-a-half times more than the 2.5 percent per capita income spent by residents of Connecticut, the least vulnerable state. When oil prices go up, families in vulnerable states are hit the hardest.
As peak summer driving season fast approaches, this report underscores that America’s addiction to oil continues to threaten our economic viability, national security and global environmental health. What we drive, how often we drive, and what fuels we use are at the core of America’s 21-million-barrel-per-day oil habit.
The report outlines solutions to end oil dependence and protect citizens from increases in gas prices, and which states have adopted such policies. Policies that encourage clean cars, clean fuels, smart growth planning and development, and public transit are making some states less vulnerable to increases in gas prices.

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