Drivers Pay Extra to Fill Up in Wrong States

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The number of U.S. summer travelers planning a trip of more than 500 miles this year is expected to set a new record. Most of those travelers will be crossing a state line and some will pay as much as $25 too much for a tankful of gasoline.

Due to variation in state gasoline taxes and other costs (type of gasoline, rent, lights, etc.), state borders represent an area where motorists are in danger of overpaying for their next fill-up. According to researchers at GasBuddy, the average price difference between the two sides of a state border in 20 high-risk areas is $0.44 a gallon. That could add up to $10 for a tankful of gas on average, and could rise to around $25 a tankful for a fill-up in the wrong state.

Senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said:

Generally, the price spread [difference] between states next to each other is the difference in state and local taxes, but can be enhanced if the two neighbors have different types of required gasoline from different regions. Usually, traveling across state borders isn’t an event that sticks out to motorists who might be busy taking pictures of the welcome signs, but gas prices can stealthily surge just by crossing over the state line. To avoid overspending, motorists should mind the price spread and look up gas prices on both sides of the border in advance to make an informed decision on where to fill up.

According to the GasBuddy survey, these are the 10 border towns that had the largest price differences. The more expensive town is listed first.

  1. Needles, California/Mohave Valley, Arizona: $1.70 per gallon
  2. Manhattan, New York/Jersey City, New Jersey: $0.88 per gallon
  3. Blythe, California/Ehrenberg, Arizona: $0.84 per gallon
  4. Greenwich, Connecticut/Port Chester, New York: $0.58 per gallon
  5. Staten Island, New York/Perth Amboy, New Jersey: $0.52 per gallon
  6. Girard, Pennsylvania/Conneaut, Ohio: $0.46 per gallon
  7. Temperance, Michigan/Toledo, Ohio: $0.45 per gallon
  8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Mount Ephraim, New Jersey: $0.40 per gallon
  9. East St. Louis, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri: $0.36 a gallon
  10. Liberty Lake, Washington/Post Falls, Idaho: $0.35 a gallon