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Are gas prices bumming you out?

While some on the East and West coasts are paying more than $4 a gallon, for others the cost of gasoline is less shocking.

By Karen Datko Feb 27, 2013 3:46PM

Is the price of a gallon of gasoline where you live heading off the charts?


That's one of the funny (strange, not ha-ha) things about the price of gas. It can be sky high in one part of the nation and much lower somewhere else.

Here are some examples from AAA's Fuel Gauge Report:

  • The national average for regular is $3.786, compared with $3.766 a week ago and $3.349 a month earlier. A year ago at this time, it was $3.716. (The highest recorded price for regular was $4.114 in July 2008.)
  • In California, the average price is $4.238.
  • In Colorado, it's $3.592.
  • Here in Montana, we're paying an average of $3.278.
  • In New York state, it's $4.013, topped by a $4.099 average in New York City.
  • In Washington state, people are paying $3.752.


This graphic clearly shows the disparities from state to state: 

MSN MoneyWhy the big disparity? What you pay depends on factors like how close the refinery is, that refinery's sources of crude, and whether refineries are undergoing planned or unplanned maintenance and repairs.


Also, says National Geographic:

"A new analysis released by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. government's energy statistics and analysis agency, suggests that 'about two-thirds of the rise in gasoline prices since the start of the year' can be traced to a rise in the 'crack spread,' a measure of refinery profit margins."

Remember also that gas prices move with the seasons, heading down for the winter months and moving back up when the weather improves. However, the price increase has come earlier this year.


And it's not over. USA Today says that although the wholesale price of gasoline has dropped in recent days, "experts still expect prices to rise another 20 cents a gallon before peaking just below $4 in late March or early April."


What can you do? First, take a deep breath and look a close look at your budget. If you don't have a long commute or you're not existing near the poverty line, gasoline is probably not consuming as much of your household spending as it seems.


It's just that we pay close attention to the price every day, and that, in turn, can affect how we view the overall economy, writes John W. Schoen of NBC News:

"An opinion poll conducted last week by the National Association of Convenience Stores found that nearly half of all consumers (44%) said that gas prices have a 'great impact' in how they feel about the economy, up from the 38% who felt that way in January."

There are ways to reduce the pain you feel at the pump. Don't waste your time with the "tips" that always pop up when gas prices are high, like filling up only in the morning. And for goodness' sake, don't forgo air conditioning in your car under the misguided belief that it's saving you money.


Here are three major ways to reduce your gasoline costs (which, granted, are not all practical for everyone):

  • Drive less. That could mean carpooling for work, taking public transportation, walking or riding a bike. If you must drive to the store, combine errands.
  • Upgrade to a more fuel-efficient car when it's time to replace your current ride.
  • Drive better. I've been known for "driving like an old lady" for decades, which means I avoid jackrabbit starts, stay within the speed limit and coast to a stop. Make fun of me if you want to (plenty have) but I guarantee you that, all things considered, I'm getting better gas mileage than you.

Is the price of gasoline where you live causing you financial pain?


More on MSN Money:

Feb 27, 2013 6:55PM

$4.00 a gallon is a national issue and one that government has to solve. Good luck on that one. The middle class can't afford these prices and the oil companies keep raising the price without fear of government intervention. Wall street keeps gambling the price will go higher and between the two of them who knows how high it will go. We can thank another do nothing democratic president Carter for the deregulation of gasoline and now a president who doesn't know how to govern or doesn't want to and could care less about the chaos he is causing. Want oil prices down. It is simple just regulate it again using the rules Carter tossed out. The oil companies and wall street would cringe. Both have enough money to bribe Washington to keep it going. Get ready to get raped again America.

Feb 27, 2013 8:07PM

I have real doubts about the validity of this article.  For one, I know that living close to a refinery has nothing to do with gas price.  If gas is cheaper it's  coincidental.

Here is a shocker for you.  Government lies.  I remember the 80's gas crises and how we were going to run out of gas in 10 years.  Fact is we don't know what's true and what's not.  For you environmentalists, if you can predict when we run out of fossil fuels, you are a liar too.

This is the only fact........Obama lies, Congress lies, Oil Companies lie and the worst of all AL GORE lies.

Feb 27, 2013 7:05PM
The problem is that increase gas prices increase the costs of other goods as they have to be transported to be sold. Looking at the price of gasoline as just a line item in a household budget is very short-sighted. We need to get off this oil teat and use other forms of energy for transportation.
Feb 27, 2013 7:56PM





Feb 27, 2013 7:42PM

The Best Government That Money Can Buy ...


His creation of the Standard Oil Company which consolidated all facets of the petroleum industry, from land and wellheads to the transport of crude, refining and retailing put John D Rockefeller on the road to unimaginable wealth. On his way to becoming the world's very first Billionaire in 1892 he also spread enormous amounts of money around Capitol Hill, (it should be spelled 'Capital Hill'). Rockefeller wrote the original playbook on how to purchase all of the power in the highest places to protect one's interests, insuring his stranglehold on the oil business and a paved and unimpeded path to immense profits...and the public be damned. 

Using Rockefeller's playbook the "Big Oil" conglomerates, their CEO oil barons and the Wall Street bankster/speculators now have most of Congress in their back pockets and can proceed at-will with the blatant raping of the American public and the economy at large. As Americans we should all at least be very proud of one thing ... we now have the very best government that money can none.

Peace to all ~

Feb 27, 2013 8:05PM
I get gas for free , when i eat broccoli or potato salad
Feb 27, 2013 8:14PM

Pain at the pump directly, no. 32 miles a day at 28mpg isn't a deal breaker for me. But at the grocery store and the post office, YES. $4 a gallon for milk, $7/lb for meat, $2.79 for head of lettuce is definately hurting the pocket book. I pretty much gave up on ebay because shipping is just too expensive.

Feb 27, 2013 8:13PM
Obamanonmics. Obamaville.  Your wallet - empty.   mmm, mmm, mmm.
Mar 1, 2013 12:50PM
Not just that the gasoline is over $4 but the home heating oil is just as high !! We can cut back our driving to the bare minimum but we cannot stop the winter cold weather, even with the house at 62 degrees my last oil delivery was over $1400...... upgrade to a more efficient car, yea right like we can afford $30K for a new car and there is no public transportation where we live. Then all the "experts" wonder why consumer spending is down..... duh......
Feb 27, 2013 6:46PM

I'm glad Texas is my home...and not just for the cheaper gas.

Feb 27, 2013 11:31PM
Just Obama and the Demoncrats paying back their campaign financial supporters and allowing them to fleece the Country...Pelsoi and her California Delagtion have managed to put ALL KNOWN FEDERAL SITES which contain are 100% know to contail Oil, off Limits to Drilling and now it appears to be an Oil Boom on priavte property in California, imigine that.....
Mar 1, 2013 3:36AM
This raising gas makes No since! Obama and his team of idiots gave away the United States of America oil. Look up Gull Island Alaska, the Liberty Drill Rig. First off look how much money was spent by BP to build the worlds largest Oil Drill Rig before they even started to drill. Second look where the oil I going. Third we knew about the oil back in 1980. The oil would had made America the richest Nation in the World. This would had paid off all our nations debts, and there would had been No need for new taxes. We knew that in the Middle East for the past several years that the Middle East has over inflated there actual amount of oil they have left. We also know that it takes oil to grow food, ship things, and to clean water. At the present rate with little rain fall in most States there have been talks about having to turn to salt water to use in drought stricken states. This means using oil to separate the salt to turn it in to useable drinking water.  Aquifers are going dry in many states, and we can not keep killing our live stock just because we have drought. We also have to look at the fact the United States was the large part of the worlds food supplier. Now we are having trouble keeping up with our own demand for food.  Oil and Water are the two most important things over any thing the world has to offer aside from oxygen. I urge any one who reads this go ask why No one is talking about Gull Island Alaska. I have wrote several people and I have yet to get an answer, that or No one wants to admit Obama screwed America over once again!  All I have to truly say is now no one can claim it was a White Man that put us all in slavery this time. 
Feb 27, 2013 8:41PM
You don't need an suv or pickup.When will the dems & nObama ban them. If it saves 1 gallon of gas it will be worth it.
Feb 27, 2013 8:01PM

America should look at nationalizing the gasoline industry.  They are prime example of why

free enterprise won't work after all competition has been bought up with overcharging of customers.

The overcharging brings in massive profits.  The government should also look at the oil industry

in the same way.  The keystone pipeline is just a avenue to transport Canadian oil to the gulf of Mexico and export it to other places and not the USA.

Feb 27, 2013 6:48PM
Saw a pgrm on history channel yesterday calculating the total value of everything on earth. One fact they mentioned almost as an aside made whole pgrm useless. That fact is that at the current rate of consumption, all the oil in the world will be gone in 64 years. 64 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can bet when people get their heads around this, there is going to be some real global panic. The countries that have oil are going to hoard it. The countries that want it will wage war to get it, no holds barred. The average joe citizen will be shut out completely. No gas for the car. No heat for the house. No food at the store. No electricity. No water. No more plastic or synthetic materials (all petroleum derivatives). Global chaos will ensue. We are in for hard times folks. Mark my words.
Feb 27, 2013 7:18PM
When pickup trucks and big suv's stop selling the gas prices will go down.
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