From the Worst to the BestSummer driving season is in full swing and road trippers should be prepared for higher gasoline prices around the country.
But gas prices vary dramatically month to month and state to state, so depending on where you’re headed, you may have to spend more on gas than you may have expected.
Here’s a look at the states where households spent the most money on gas and those that spent the least last year according to a recent auto and gas report by Bundle.com.
Photo Credit: Ytse Jam Photography
9th Biggest Gas Spender: New HampshireFew residents use public transportation in New Hampshire, and not many bike, walk or work from home, according to some city data, which could be why average gas spending was so high in the state last year.
Average gas expenditure: $2,386
Photo Credit: Leventhal Map Center
8th Biggest Gas Spender: MichiganStatewide, people in Michigan may be paying a lot for gas compared with other states, but Detroit households paid just $755 for gas in 2009, according to Bundle.com. That’s likely because the Motor City actually has a reliable public transportation system, meaning fewer residents drive every day compared with those in other areas of the state.
Average gas expenditure: $2,409
Photo Credit: mrt77
7th Biggest Gas Spender: VirginiaVirginia commuters spend as much as 41 minutes driving to work, according to Census research, and part of the reason could be that residents of the state tend to prefer living in areas that aren’t as crowded, which means a longer commute, according to the state of Virginia itself.Average gas expenditure: $2,413
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6th Biggest Gas Spender: North CarolinaHot weather and suburban sprawl could be major reasons why North Carolina is one of the states with the highest gasoline expenditures. In 2009, Raleigh residents spent about $3,459 at the pump and Durham residents spent about $2,596, according to Bundle.com. This year, however, gas prices are lower, according to local news site WRAL, which could spell relief for those filling up in the state this summer.
Average gas expenditure: $2,428
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5th Biggest Gas Spender: VermontVermont gas prices have seemed fairly volatile, reaching some of the highest levels in recent years and 2009 was no different. Currently, Vermont gas prices are $2.773 compared with a nationwide average of $2.732, according to AAA.
Average gas expenditure: $2,443
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4th Biggest Gas Spender: ArkansasAbout 80% of Arkansas residents drove to work alone between 2006 and 2008, according to a recent American Community Survey by the Census Bureau. Sharing gas expenses with carpoolers is much cheaper for drivers, of course, which is a likely contributor to high gas spending in Arkansas.
Average gas expenditure: $2,552
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3rd Biggest Gas Spender: ConnecticutConnecticut is the richest state in America per capita, according to EconomicPolicyJournal.com, and that means residents of the state likely drive more expensive cars. And of course pricey sports cars and SUVs are much less fuel efficient. For example, a 2010 Bentley Brooklands gets just 11 miles per gallon, according to fueleconomy.gov.
Average gas expenditure: $2,574
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2nd Biggest Gas Spender: TexasWeather has a lot to do with how much people spend on gas since car air conditioners use fuel too. And there’s no doubt that Texas gets hot. Residents of Austin spend $4,052 on average. In Plano, on the other hand, residents pay about $2,853 per year at the pump, according to Bundle.com.
Average gas expenditure: $2,656
Photo Credit: Billjacobus1
Biggest Gas Spender: OklahomaAs far as average state-wide gas prices go, Oklahoma is the worst, with residents of Oklahoma City in particular spending about $2,529 in a year. But the state’s and even many of its cities’ averages are nothing compared to some of the worst cities for gas spending, as you’ve seen in earlier slides. Oklahoma is a big state though and people, on average, do good amount of driving there.
Average gas expenditure: $2,876
Photo Credit: Abhijit Tembhekar
10th Lowest Gas Spender: MassachusettsMassachusetts is the 10th best state when it comes to gas expenditures, thanks to a population that’s concentrated in a fairly small area as well as good public transportation. Boston residents in particular spent about $1,111 on average at the pump in 2009, according to Bundle.com.
Average gas expenditure: $1,944
Photo Credit: Paul Keleher
9th Lowest Gas Spender: West VirginiaSpending on gasoline was relatively low in West Virginia last year, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a bit of a turnaround this summer during driving season. Currently, a regular gallon of gas in West Virginia costs about $2.781, more than the national average of $2.732, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
Average gas expenditure: $1,934
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8th Lowest Gas Spender: PennsylvaniaPublic transportation is fairly reliable in Pennsylvania’s bigger cities, and Commuter Services of Pennsylvania promotes rideshares and alternative transportation methods in the state. Annual gas costs in Philadelphia were $1,207 in 2009 and $1,246 in Pittsburgh, much lower than the state average overall, according to Bundle.com data.
Average gas expenditure: $1,907
Photo Credit: Tony the Misfit
6th Lowest Gas Spender: OhioWith public transportation systems in major cities like Cleveland, Canton and Toledo, 2009 gas spending wasn’t half bad, especially compared Ohio’s neighbor, Michigan, which is one of the worst states for gas spending. Toledo was one of the U.S. cities with the lowest annual gas costs per household at $1,291, according to Bundle.com data.
Average gas expenditure: $1,888
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5th Lowest Gas Spender: New YorkNew York actually has one of the highest tax rates on gasoline, at 44.6 cents per gallon, compared with as little as 8 cents per gallon in Alaska. And in New York City, gas expenditures were especially low. Households paid $940 on average on 2009, likely in part because more than 4 million people use the New York City subway system each day.
Average gas expenditure: $1,865
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4th Lowest Gas Spender: New JerseyThe state of New Jersey charges only 14.5 cents per gallon in gas taxes. That’s 30 cents less per gallon than what’s levied in New York. Additionally, reliable public transportation in areas like Jersey City keep gas costs relatively low for residents there. Households in Jersey City spent just $993 on gas in 2009.
Average gas expenditure: $1,848
Photo Credit: psflannery
3rd Lowest Gas Spender: NevadaSpending days and nights in casinos probably isn’t the reason why the state’s average household gas expenditures is so low. There are actually several public transportation systems that service the residents there. Gas prices in Chandler, Nev., are fairly high however, at $2,596 per household in 2009.
Average gas expenditure: $1,699
Photo Credit: matze_ott
2nd Lowest Gas Spender: OregonOregon is one of the most bicycle-friendly states, according to the League of American Bicyclists, which likely contributes to fairly low average household gasoline expenditures in 2009. In fact, the state seems fairly competitive about its place on the bike-friendly states list, boasting its “pro‐bike legislation and increased dedicated state funding for bicycle projects,” on OregonLive.com.
Average gas expenditure: $1,676
Photo Credit: bandita
The Lowest Gas Spender: Hawaii
Hawaii residents are subject to one of the highest gasoline taxes in the U.S., at 44.4 cents, but a big part of why gas is so expensive for residents there is likely that it has to be transported to the islands from very far away. And the crude oil used there doesn’t just come from America. More than 30% of it actually comes from Indonesia, according to Hawaiian Electric Company. And with seriously high gas prices, there might not be much appeal to driving at all, especially when there's always a beach or scenic area nearby.
Average gas expenditure: $1,557
Photo Credit: Vatsek
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