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Gasoline. Sweet, glorious, beautiful gasoline. Liquid gold. The magic elixir. The source of life.

It might sound foolish, but is there any other precious commodity whose prices so drastically impact our daily lives?

It was the dizzying spike in fuel costs in the summer of 2008 -- when gas prices took a rocket ride to more than $4 per gallon -- that caused a profound shift in car buyers’ preferences and choices. That prompted consumers to stampede away from popular, gas-chugging SUVs in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient models.

That, in turn, lit a fire under the carmakers to improve the fuel economy of their existing models as fast as they could and to push new, even more efficient models through the product pipeline as expeditiously as possible.

But given the volatility of oil prices (the cost of gas plummeted at the end of ’08, then gradually crept back up to the $3-per-gallon range by this past April) are we to believe prices will stay low or spike this year? Might an unforeseen global development – like political / military turmoil in an oil-producing nation, or the Gulf Coast being hit by a couple of severe hurricanes -- cause prices to spike again?

Or, will prices go up again when the economy recovers -- a prediction that economists have been making for months?

Most Vunerable States

StatePercent of Income (Dollar Amount)
Mississippi 6.22% ($1880.95)
Montana 5.88% ($2017.96)
Louisiana 5.26% ($1908.72)
Oklahoma 5.12% ($1830.77)
South Carolina 5.06% ($1638.98)
Kentucky 5.02% ($1583.50)
Texas 4.87% ($1818.89)
Maine 4.65% ($1700.66)
Georgia 4.64% ($1595.08)
Idaho 4.54% ($1467.33)

 

The answer: nobody knows for sure. That kind of volatility and unpredictability is what is so maddening.

A recent study describes, in detailed fashion, the direct economic impact that gas prices have on everyday Americans. It reveals how big the gulf is between the most vulnerable and least vulnerable states, in terms of what percentage of a car owner’s total income goes toward buying gas. If another gas price hike were to occur, it would only exacerbate that chasm.

According to the study, prepared by the consulting firm of David Gardiner & Associates on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the 10 most vulnerable states (ranked from most to least vulnerable), are: Mississippi, Montana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, Maine, Georgia and Idaho.

Meanwhile, the 10 least vulnerable states (from most to least) are: Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. (See the full report with a complete ranking of the states -- and the data for each state.)

According to the study, car owners in Mississippi spent more than 6 percent of their income on gasoline in ‘09, while citizens in Connecticut and New York spent only about 2.5 percent of their income on fuel. But if prices spiked again, Connecticut and New York drivers’ spending on gasoline would go up moderately, to around 4.3 percent; Mississippi drivers, on the other hand, could see their spending on gasoline skyrocket to more than 11 percent.

As one might expect, the NRDC is pushing hard for the federal government to enact new, bolder energy policies, and re-prioritize transportation spending, in order to combat the economic hardship caused by any potential price spikes, either in the short or long term. Specifically, in order to cut America’s dependence on oil and help reduce the risk of oil and gas price spikes, the report recommended that Congress:

1 - “Pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation that limits carbon dioxide emissions, helps us break our oil addiction, and helps create millions of clean energy jobs here in the United States; and

2 - “Fundamentally reform federal transportation policy to support smart, transit-oriented development; assist states and regions in saving oil; and provide ample funding for energy-efficient transportation alternatives including rail and bus lines, bike paths, sidewalks, and other alternatives to driving.”

“Our addiction to oil is harming us economically, both as a nation and as individuals, and any increase in gas prices would add to that burden,” said Deron Lovaas, NRDC’s transportation expert. “That’s why we feel strongly that Congress needs to put even more emphasis on clean energy and climate solutions, which would not only be better for the environment, but would also help the economy.

“We’re interested in ways to decrease the demand for oil, not increase the supply.”

Elizabeth Hogan, an analyst at David Gardiner & Associates and the co-author of the report, echoes those sentiments.

“It’s important that the federal government pushes for more efficient vehicles and alternative fuels that are cleaner, and that it focuses on better public transportation and smart growth,” said Hogan. “That would really help putting an end to this unhealthy addiction we have to oil. And this report will hopefully get the attention of Congressmen in the most vulnerable states, and let them know just how severely gas prices impact the people they represent.”


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  • 111 Comments
      arvig
      • 2 Months Ago
      Cnakao534 posted this "tidbit": "HUSSEIN OBAMA IS A FAKE, WHY IS HE STILL LETTING CAR MANUFACTURING MAKE THIS BIG TRUCKS AND SAY WE NEED TO SAVE FUEL . THERE IS MORE TRUCKS ON THE ROAD WITH JUST ONE PERSON IN IT. TIME TO KICK HIM OUT." My reply: Uh-huh. Hussein Obama? Yes, his middle name is Hussein. I'm sure you're one of those "people" who thinks he's a Muslim and/or wasn't born in the USA. Sorry, but he was born in the USA, all the birther claims HAVE been debunked. Only brainwashed idiots who want to believe something DESPITE the truth think otherwise. Same with him being Muslim, he isn't. (And no, I'm not an Obama supporter. Nor am I a "liberal" or for that matter "conservative". I'm something most political bashers can't even comprehend. A moderate who isn't a zealot toward either of the "big 2" political parties in the USA). As for letting car manufacturers make big trucks, could it be that some people actually use a pickup for...GASP hauling things? Yes, some people buy a pickup just for the "image" that a pickup has, but some people really do use them let's say to haul their tools to a construction site. Now do we need more economical cars? Sure. But forcing car manufacturers to not be able to build all sorts of vehicles would only just bankrupt them (and gee, we already had that happen to a few of those recently, or do you remember that...). So please, before you go into an angry rant (which typing in all caps DOES imply...it doesn't make your post easier to read or more valid, it just makes you sound like you're throwing a fit) maybe consider the truth? Then again you're implying that you think Obama is a Muslim by calling him "Hussein Obama" too, so considering the truth is probably difficult for you.
      MSmailbox
      • 2 Months Ago
      We used to be able to get 6 (or more) grades of gas, at Sunoco. My favorite was the Sunoco 260, however, I have burned Sunoco 240, as well. Talk about choice, Sunoco gave us the most options of any station, in town. I still wonder how they did it! Did they have over half a dozen tanks, underground? It seems a bit much, to me. Kinda like buying NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, acetaminophen...)... There are only 5 or 6 actual "active" OTC pain releivers, but they are marketed in over 100 different ways, making for an entire aisle, at Walgreens! Choice is good, but enough is enough. Consolodate!
      MSmailbox
      • 2 Months Ago
      OK, I'm back... I drove to Shell (same brand as in the picture) and regular was $2.569 per gallon. That's only 67 cents difference, so I assume that the picture IS recent, but from another state. Prices on ethyl, were not posted! MS Saint Louis, Missouri
      mspski
      • 2 Months Ago
      Interesting I have been down here in the Pensacola area off and on for the last three weeks anid I can tell you this is more than depressing and of course should never have happened. Obviously BP is at fault in so many many ways.....most of which of course is greed...greed that caused them to take short cuts in bringing in that well...... But what caused the greed......I guess perhaps we all have to take a little of the blame for that...... looking out over one overpass on any afternoon and seeing the thousands of cars streaming north.....for, where were they...where were we to get that gasoline for these commutes.....not from the frozen North slopes of Alaska and Cananda...where no humans live and very very few animals..... So ...BP and the others to meet our needs drilled deeper and deeper into the Gulf....and then of course BP's own Greed to cut corners and bring in that well on the cheap ....so to speak. And all that money BP spent on advertising .....they tried so hard to mask the fact they are a foreign company...BP....how many folks grabing 20-30 in fuel from a BP pump...even knew what a BP was ...much less a drilling rig......or the Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on top of the well and what a BOP is even suppose to do.......well...I guess we all know now...
      • 2 Months Ago
      Glid 13... Look up the (WORD) PROFIT... The profit on gas is what it takes to make the fuel... Oil companies and others as well.. Have overhead. buildings, equipment, property, payroll,taxes, ect........... Your Paycheck you recieve each week is a profit.. then you spend it for your overhead at home, ect... IT ONLY COSTS... $ 5.99 for a Dictionary....
      Paul
      • 2 Months Ago
      skearney100000 said "I wish you would all stop your moaning. Try living in the U.K we are paying $1.71 per litre for gas. You are geeting it easy compared to us." And how many miles is it from your east coast to your west ************ almost 2500 miles (4000 kilometers) here in the US. How close do you live to your job? Your relatives? The high price of gas affects worse those who have more miles to drive. I couldn't try living in the UK - your taxes are way too high and your healthcare stinks.
      MIKE
      • 2 Months Ago
      MSPSKI: Obviously you don't know that BP or any of the oil companies do not drill for oil at all. All deepwater drilling is done by another company called TransOcean after which they lease the rigs to the different companies or the one who contracted them. The rights to drill site may belong to one company and they hire TransOcean to do the drilling. Trans Ocean has drilled numerous wells all over the world in many years without any incidents This situation had nothing to do with any error of the driller, it was an unpredictable and unexpected natural gas bubble which is mixed with the oil that came up the pipe and ignited. The driller or BP could have done nolthing to prevent the explosion. Does it make sense that BP is going to try to save money by losing so much oil and gas as they are now plus the cleanup, fines and reimbursement. They want to make money not throw it out.
      john
      • 2 Months Ago
      Between the Greedy take at will Oil Companies and the self serving Politicians in Washington D.C. its a wonder why Fuel isn't up to $20 a gallon by now! They keep pushing and pushing till one day the people push back and we will.....and when it finally happens..that will be the day America gets its groove back! Blood will be shed..but that's the price of freedom! Until then the rich get richer...Obama and his ****** continue to screw America.....and You and I pay way too much for food, gas, mortgages, auto's etc...etc....so as the clock ticks....and the American people get more angrier by the minute ...until we are pushed no more! Politicians you better hide...your day is coming! Its the only way to get America back on track..because nothing else is working!
      • 2 Months Ago
      Anyone notice they spelled vulnerable wrong on the 10 most vulnerable states table on the top right side? lol
      • 2 Months Ago
      How many types of gasoline does a refinery produce for gas stations in this country???
      • 2 Months Ago
      I can't wait till the Camel Jockeys well's run dry!! THEN we start drilling the bakken,, and charging them rat Muslim pices of garbage $500.00 a barrel........ WE get the last laugh sand *******!!!
      • 2 Months Ago
      good!!! put gas at $6.00 a galloon. So we can see those piece of **** pick up trucks and mobile homes( SUV) off the roads. oh wait nevermind because the americans will just use their credit cards and once again use something they can't afford. haha this country will never change. same old ****
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