With Gas Prices Rising, Map Shows Which US States Will be Hit Hardest

Map Reveals States’ Vulnerability to High Gas Prices
High gas prices can inflict a lot of pain on working families across the nation, but those living in some regions are apt to be harder hit than others — even if prices at the pump rise at similar rates. There are a few different reasons for this, but the obvious ones are as follows:

1) Poorer states will be harder hit by a spike in fuel costs, as people have less wiggle room in their budgets, and
2) More rural, less dense states present residents with few options but to continue consuming gas to get around — and because they often have to travel greater distances, it costs even more.

GOOD’s Ben Jervey highlights an annual report from the Natural Resources Defense Council report (pdf) that reveals how paying for gas is consuming 7% of the average person’s budget in Mississippi, and accounting for almost the same staggering share in Kentucky and South Carolina. Below, there’s a state-by-state breakdown of states’ vulnerability to gas price spikes:

As gas prices rise in the states nearer the top, residents’ budgets will be increasingly consumed by paying for fuel.

These numbers paint a pretty clear picture — relying on oil to fuel transportation is endangering the economic well-being of millions of Americans. It won’t be long before those skyrocketing gas prices may turn further-out suburbs and exurbs into slums. There’s little doubt that both long and short-term alternatives must be sought — first, with more and better mass transit on a regional basis, and eventually with high speed rail and electric vehicles a bit further down the road.

But regardless the path forward, one thing is certain: oil is on its way out.

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Images: NRDC

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant is a founding editor of the Utopianist.. When he's not helming the Utopianist, he is TreeHugger's politics writer, contributes the Getting Samy Out of Burma column to, and freelances for the likes of Salon and Paste. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.