Gas Prices: 10 Best and Worst States

Drea at Business Pundit lists the 10 worst and 10 best states for buying gasoline, i.e., those in which gas is most and least expensive. King Banian finds, not surprisingly, a rather strong correlation between these lists and the rate of taxation imposed by states and localities.

I was rather surprised that Georgia didn’t make the least expensive lists and Alabama did, because people in Alabama and Tennessee who either lived very near Georgia or who traveled through the Peach State not long ago made a point of filling up there whenever possible because the savings were so substantial (25 to 30 cents a gallon back in the days when gas went for around a buck).

The BP post has a helpful link to an article pointing out that consumers in ten other countries in the world pay substantially more for gasoline than Americans do, with Bosnians paying a whopping $10.86 a gallon back in May. The Germans, ranked just above the USA on the list, were paying more than double what we were. My strong guess is that taxation rates are a major part of this disparity, too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    There are other reason than just taxation. I recall visiting my old roommate in Chicago some years back – the most expensive gas prices in town were at stations in the low-income areas literally surrounding the Amoco refinery. I wonder if there’s a breakdown of gas prices by neighborhood… guess I need to do some googling…

  2. sam says:

    Of course, raw price data doesn’t tell the whole story. We need to take into consideration the income levels of the states, etc. The New York Times has two stories today titled, “The Varying Impact of Gas Prices” and “Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average”


    Gasoline prices reached a national average of $4 a gallon for the first time over the weekend, adding more strain to motorists across the country.

    But the pain is not being felt uniformly. Across broad swaths of the South, Southwest and the upper Great Plains, the combination of low incomes, high gas prices and heavy dependence on pickup trucks and vans is putting an even tighter squeeze on family budgets.

  3. As a recent transplant from Northern Alabama to Northern Georgia, I can say that the list reflects recent reality. I, too, for many (*many*) years would stop in Georgia to fill up on any long car trip I took that went through the state. I couldn’t tell you how often I filled up on the nice little stretch of I-24 that passes through that odd stretch of Georgia that juts into Tennessee.

    However, in the last year or two the savings have disappeared. My guess is that Georgia has raised its gas taxes, but I don’t know that for sure. I feel kind of sheepish for not knowing since as a new resident it’s the kind of thing I feel like I should be learning about.

    I still travel back and forth to Huntsville, Alabama a decent amount (my employer is located there and my parents live there) and the gas prices are noticeably higher here (even in the county) than they are back in Huntsville. Not hugely so, but about 10 cents a gallon or so.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Russell: Interesting. Yes, I traveled that stretch and did the same when I was living in Chattanooga and driving back to Alabama to see the folks or head back to the Alabama campus.

    King links a story indicating that, yes, Georgia is raising gas taxes.

  5. Bithead says:

    Drea at Business Pundit lists the 10 worst and 10 best states for buying gasoline, i.e., those in which gas is most and least expensive. King Banian finds, not surprisingly, a rather strong correlation between these lists and the rate of taxation imposed by states and localities


    There’s a relationship between high tax states and what party is running those states, no? And therefore, the higher prices for gas are in those states run by Democrats.

    NY and California, for example.

  6. Anderson says:

    You can’t go just by price, as today’s NYT article (no link due to OTB spam hounds) demonstrates. In five Mississippi counties, gas costs are at 13% of income, whereas despite the higher costs in some other places, the costs are more affordable due to higher income.

    Adding to the article, I have several nursing-home clients in relatively rural parts of the state, who rely on nurses and nurse aides driving in from 20, 30, 50 miles away. They are feeling the gas hike pretty hard, and are looking into buying vans to bus in their workers — there being a general shortage of such staff in the state.

  7. Jo says:

    I live in AL and work in Columbus, GA. Right now the cheapest gas I can find is the old Chevron, now Castle Fuels, station just up from the house. Hubby buys his on post (Fort Benning) because its still cheaper than either Columbus or Phenix City.

    It was $3.89 this weekend when I filled up the truck. This morning going to work it was $3.85. Got me didn’t they? Oh, we fill up at the half-tank mark.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Sam and Anderson: Yes. No doubt, the same gas price will effect people with lower incomes and/or more dependence on driving more than those who earn more or burn less gas. I’m not sure what to do abut that, though, unless we price gas “to each according to his needs, from each according to his means.”