WASHINGTON (July 22, 2008) – States that adopt laws promoting clean and efficient vehicles and investing in public transit are helping protect their citizens from high oil prices, according to a new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The report highlights two critical areas related to our nation’s addiction to oil: vulnerability to high oil prices and implementation by states of alternatives and solutions. The oil vulnerability ranking is based on the average percentage of income that states’ drivers spend on gasoline.
“This report shows that when oil prices go up, families in some states are hit much harder than others because they are paying a greater percentage of their income at the gas pump,” said Deron Lovaas, Transportation Policy Director at NRDC. “The good news is that some states are enacting policies that give consumers vehicle and transportation choices. But more states need to do the same and federal policymakers must follow suit, by boosting fuel economy standards, supporting a firm limit on global warming pollution and investing in more efficient transportation alternatives like commuter rail.”
States doing the most to promote energy-saving policies to reduce their oil dependency and protect their residents from oil price spikes are California, New York, Connecticut, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Colorado and Maryland.
The states in which drivers are most at risk to high gas prices increases are Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Indiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.
Drivers in the most vulnerable state—Mississippi—spend an average of more than 8 percent of their income on gasoline – that is 3.17 percent of income spent by residents of Connecticut, the least vulnerable state.
The report outlines solutions to reduce oil vulnerability and protect citizens from increases in gas prices, and highlights which states have adopted policies that provide alternatives to driving long distances in inefficient vehicles filled with conventional gasoline. These solutions are policies that promote clean cars, clean energy, research and development, and smart growth and public transit can help insulate consumers from volatile gas prices.