4/26/2011 1:02 PM ET|
10 states where gas prices hit hard
In places where lots of people were already struggling, the big spike in fuel costs is much more than an economic nuisance. It's painful and scary.
The average price of gasoline has risen to $3.815 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association. Four-dollar gas, as a national average, may only be a month away if crude oil stays above $105 and the Libyan conflict continues.
The international oil crisis also could worsen if political unrest boils over in Nigeria -- the biggest petroleum producer in sub-Saharan Africa. Rebel attacks have shuttered oil operations there in the past.
Gas prices vary sharply from state to state. Regular unleaded fuel costs $4.17 per gallon in Alabama, while the price is below $3.50 in some other states. Part of the reason for these discrepancies is differing gas taxes, and another part has to do with the cost of transporting fuel.
Fuel costs cannot be considered in a vacuum when it comes to their effect on consumers. A household with an annual income of $250,000 may not be bothered much by $5 gas. But a household with an annual income of $35,000 could find $3.50 gas so expensive that cutbacks in other routine spending are necessary to offset the cost of driving.
24/7 Wall St. looked at factors that make gas more or less affordable by state. It examined the average price of gas, of course, but also considered conditions that influence how much the price of gas affects consumers. These included a state's median household income, unemployment levels and the proportion of people there who live below the poverty line. A state that combines high gas prices, high unemployment and low median income is likely to be one where levels of consumer spending are threatened.
This analysis shows the extent to which the U.S. economy cannot be viewed simply as a whole -- as an undifferentiated collection of 50 states. Whatever happens with the national economy, some states on this list, like Alabama or West Virginia, could be tipped back into local recessions by a combination of high gas prices and low wages.
Each of the states whose people can least afford gas has a different set of factors contributing to the effects of high fuel costs. However, much of what applies to one state could also apply to another: Gas prices will cause people to postpone vacations and defer daily expenses. Construction companies will suspend some of their activities. Businesses that deliver goods to homes or other businesses will try to raise their prices to offset their costs of transportation.
Some of the states on this list barely made it out of the last recession, if they did so at all. Some still have double-digit unemployment and high poverty levels. The sharp rise in gas prices becomes more severe for them each day.
- Median income: $50,721 (21st-highest)
- Price of regular gasoline: $3.94 (8th-highest)
- Unemployment: 6.1% (6th-lowest)
- Below poverty line: 13.07% (16th-lowest)
High gas prices are causing pain across Iowa, which has the eighth-highest gas prices in the country. One sector having trouble dealing with these rising prices is public education. Gov. Terry Branstad announced projections of 0% spending growth for all Iowa schools for the next two years. School districts, however, cannot avoid spending more money for fuel. "We're at the mercy of the market whenever we purchase (fuel)," said Bill Good, the chief operations officer of the Des Moines School District, according to Des Moines broadcaster KCCI. That increase at the pump means schools will have to make cuts in other parts of their budgets.
- Median income: $45,879 (19th-lowest)
- Price of regular gasoline: $3.83 (17th-lowest)
- Unemployment: 9.2% (20th-highest)
- Below poverty line: 19% (16th-highest)
Gas prices in Ohio are affecting not only individual drivers but also industries that rely heavily on transportation and related services. One local news station noted that farmers, too, are taking a hit. Farmers need fuel to operate their equipment, and the costs of some essential agricultural supplies, such as fertilizer, are affected by oil and gas prices.
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Shouldn't foreign aid be limited to life or death situations only? Amazing!
It is not the price of gas it is the pying power of the dollar! The us is sitting on more crude
but lets not use it . lets keep doing the same thing and expect the result to be different??
Drill IN THE USA REFINE IN THE USA JOBS IN THE USA.. PROFITS IN THE USA...
THREE LITTLE WORDS MADE IN USA....... LOOK FOR IT ...
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm sick to death of the oil companies (and our government) holding all of us by the short hairs! It doesn't matter what state we live in (the cost of living is different from state to state) what matters is all of us hard-working Americans are being held for ransom. The "powers that be" know we have no choice but to pay the gas prices we are handed down. How else are we going to get to work, to school, to the babysitters to drop off our children, the grocers, after school activities, just to name a few? I don't know a solution to this problem, but I do know it's only going to get worse. The greedy get greedier, the power-hungry more powerful and the rest of us are left just trying to figure out how to make it to work AND put dinner on the table.
Gas prices are a problem only because our government is holding out. They don't want to appear weak to other countries by opening up 'OUR' reserve. Yes... I said OUR reserve. Not our governments. OURS. As in we the people. Hello! Not to mention .. one of the largest fossil fuel deposits are right here in the United States yet our government would rather use up the oil in other countries first so they can come crawling to us when their resources are gone. But... that's not the only impact we should be concerned about. However, since the subject here is gas... so be it.
There will never be a ceiling on gas prices, so... there will never be a ceiling on any thing else. Our government does not give a DAMN about 'we the people' until it comes time for the polls.
Just my turn to gripe.
Just my turn to gripe.
Big corporations, wall street and banking are running america and they are destroying our country. They own our government and there is nothing they want do. Working children for pennies and stealing poor peoples water supply doesn't bother these pigs at all. They will do the same to Americans if we don't stand up and demand change
Our middle class is declining, poverty is growing and the big rich are getting richer off the backs of slave labor. We are on a sure path to depression. Will we allow this insane greed and idolatry destroy us or will we come together and force change?
Unemployment will go down in KY, not because of more jobs because companies dont want to pay higher premiums for uemployment insurance so companies now along with help of the stupid Bast*rds in Frankfort screw people out of their unemployment. By the way I bought one of your tree hugging idiot economy cars, now Ive got a car payment on a piece of crap Toyota Prius thats broke down and not covered on those famous warranties and you know what? Im back driving my paid for big truck, that may not get good gas mileage but its dependable and paid for, plus mechancs everywhere can work on them. Im sending the repo man for the stupid toyota I was forced into buying, going green can go to hell! Im sick of being taken advantage of period! I got the perfect place to stick all these rotten politicians, gas prices and tax hikes!
The price of gas makes things especially hard on those of us who commute to work. I spend about 12% of my take-home pay on gasoline now. I had a hard time making ends meet before gas prices started rising and there's no end in sight.
i am 90 years old and i trully feel sorry for all americans and even the rest of the world. no one seems to know the truthas to the cause of the problems each and everyone faces. there are many articles about the rothschild banks have taken over most of the countries and america is well on it's way. the ferdal resevre bank that they conned pres wilson into signing was the start. don't blame obama for his actions, he would be a dead duck if he didn't follow the instructions he gets from the rothdchild, the red shield. jfk signed his own death warrant when he ordered the treasury to print u s money and voiding the federal reserve notes. lincoln made the same mistake. even the head of isreal said that the jews own america, and they know it. take note that no one in public position dares even mention the rothschilds. go to your history books and you will find time and time again where the rothschilds indebted counrty after country then taking over thier banks. i won't say more because i don't think many will believe me.
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