States That Pay the Most for Gas

From the Worst to the Best

Summer 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 Photo Credit: Ytse Jam Photography

10th Biggest Gas Spender: Iowa

Iowa boasts fairly low gasoline taxes of 22 cents per gallon (compared with 46.6 cents in California), according to the Tax Foundation. Despite this, annual gas spending among state residents remains high. Average gas expenditure: $2,342 Photo Credit: Nicholas_T

9th Biggest Gas Spender: New Hampshire

Few 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: Michigan

Statewide, 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 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: Virginia

Virginia 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 Photo Credit: Bsabarnowl

6th Biggest Gas Spender: North Carolina

Hot 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 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 Photo Credit: Synthetic Dreamer

5th Biggest Gas Spender: Vermont

Vermont 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 Photo Credit: Tony the Misfit

4th Biggest Gas Spender: Arkansas

About 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 Photo Credit: StuSeeger

3rd Biggest Gas Spender: Connecticut

Connecticut is the richest state in America per capita, according to, 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 Average gas expenditure: $2,574 Photo Credit: Abhijit Tembhekar

2nd Biggest Gas Spender: Texas

Weather 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 Average gas expenditure: $2,656 Photo Credit: Billjacobus1

Biggest Gas Spender: Oklahoma

As 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: Massachusetts

Massachusetts 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 Average gas expenditure: $1,944 Photo Credit: Paul Keleher

9th Lowest Gas Spender: West Virginia

Spending 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 Photo Credit: bradwicklund

8th Lowest Gas Spender: Pennsylvania

Public 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 data. Average gas expenditure: $1,907 Photo Credit: Tony the Misfit

7th Lowest Gas Spender: Rhode Island

Gas expenditures probably should be low for America’s smallest state, but use of public transportation may be a big contributing factor affecting gas costs in Rhode Island as well. Average gas expenditure: $1,895 Photo Credit: Abhijit Tembhekar

6th Lowest Gas Spender: Ohio

With 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 data. Average gas expenditure: $1,888 Photo Credit: DRB62

5th Lowest Gas Spender: New York

New 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 Photo Credit: joiseyshowaa

4th Lowest Gas Spender: New Jersey

The 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: Nevada

Spending 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: Oregon

Oregon 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 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

What About Cars?

Think you pay a lot for gas?  Some of the cars with the worst gas mileage are luxury vehicles.  But even though they're not fuel efficient, it's difficult not to love them, at least from afar.  Check out MainStreet's story, Obscenely Expensive Cars Photo Credit: xploitme

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