The days when gasoline prices dropped close to $1 a gallon in some parts of the United States are months past. For the first time in nearly a year, the price of an average gallon of regular gas has risen above $2 in every state, according to GasBuddy. In California, the price has moved rapidly toward $3.
The primary culprit, obviously, is a hike in oil prices, which just crossed above $50 a barrel for the first time since November. The 52-week low for the commodity is $31.61, which puts the price up a breathtaking 60% since then.
Oil-rich states, or those near large refinery complexes, were the last to cross the $2 line. Mississippi has the lowest average price among states at $2.07. In Texas it is $2.08. The largest cluster of refineries in the United States sits south of Houston on the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana ($2.08) Oklahoma ($2.10) and Alabama ($2.11) are among the 10 states with the lowest gas prices.
Recently, some state legislatures viewed high gas taxes as a means of increasing revenue to fix old roads or to build general funds. Low gas prices meant the bite of higher taxes and levies would not bite consumer spending. That point of view no longer applies.
American Petroleum Institute data show that fuel taxes among the states still affect gas prices significantly. The research also shows that most of the oil-rich states have low taxes and levies, which will keep them at the bottom of the gas price list. While the average tax and levy among all states is $0.4804 per gallon, the figure in Oklahoma is $0.3540. In Mississippi it is $0.3728 and in Texas $0.3840. California not only has the highest gas price in the nation, it also has among the highest gas tax levels at $0.5883 per gallon.
The price of oil has risen relentlessly for months. Barring a massive drop in them, gas prices above $2 are here to stay.