Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gas Prices - A Comparison of States

Gasbuddy.com has some interesting information on gas prices including a great graphic located here. I put a smaller version on the right. The dark green equates to low gas prices, and the dark red equates with high gas prices. Because prices tend to change dramatically across state lines, I'm willing to bet that state gas taxes, regulations, and mandates are the major contributors to the differences.
South Carolina seems to have the cheapest gas, with Missouri close behind, even though they are not major oil producing or refining states. In the northeast, New Jersey seems to be an island of cheaper gas. What is really striking though is how California is solid dark red. The West Coast has dramatically higher gas prices than the rest of the U.S. In the northeast, New York and Connecticut stand out amongst the rest.
Because you can't read the key at the bottom right here is a list of select states and their average gasoline prices. Source here.
South Carolina - $3.85
Missouri - $3.85
Texas - $3.95
New Jersey - $3.97
Florida - $4.02
Massachusetts - $4.05
New York - $4.25
California - $4.59
California is paying 74 cents more than South Carolina. If your state wants to lower gas prices, they should try to not do what California is doing.
As much as I and other stereotype California's problems stemming from being more left-wing it doesn't really explain why Massachusetts isn't having such problems. Why California in particular is wracked by crisis after crisis is anyone's guess. Even when compared to other states that get ample media exposure it seems to have far more problems. Perhaps while the Northeast tends to be on the left it has more economic literacy due to it's heavy concentration of financial services.
Mark Perry at his Carpe Diem blog also used this graphic this morning. I suspect that we read the same article that referenced it. In addition, he has a graphic of state gas taxes. Here's the link. Gas taxes in California explain 39.7 of the 74 cent difference between California and South Carolina.


Anonymous said...

I have an easy way to combat these high prices, and we can show Big Oil that each American can make difference. If everyone decides together to boycott one company, Exxon Mobil, the entire industry will listen. It may not work but our voice, a united voice can be heard.

I’m part of a campaign to boycott Exxon Mobil, the current leader in profits during this energy crisis. It is hosted on The Point, a new social action website. Check it out here www.thepoint.com/campaigns/send-a-message-to-the-oil-companies

Hopefully, we can all do something about this terrible injustice

Brian Shelley said...

Normally I try to be respectful of anyone who posts on my blog, but this idea that a boycott of a particular oil company is just plain silly.

The gasoline market is probably the most cut-throat hyper competitive market in the world. No other business posts their prices where you can see them without pulling into the parking lot. They sell virtually the exact same product, and often times gas stations are across the street from each other, so price exploration costs are virtually zero.

U.S. oil companies have almost no pricing power, because they control so little of the world's oil. Almost every other industry in the world has more pricing power than U.S. oil companies.

"It may not work..." is the understatement of the year.