As oil prices surge, gasoline prices have mostly risen in lockstep. The current price of an average gallon or regular nationwide is $2.87, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge. That is up from $2.23 a year ago. Several states continue to have prices well under the national average.
Most of the states with low gas prices are near refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. These include Alabama at $2.52 for the average gallon of regular in the state, Mississippi at $2.53, Louisiana at $2.55, Oklahoma at $2.56 and Texas at $2.63. Virtually all other low gas price states are in the south. Among these are South Carolina at $2.52, Arkansas at $2.57, Tennessee at $2.62, Virginia at $2.61 and Missouri at $2.62.
Oil prices are not the only reason gas prices in many of these states are low. The average gas tax across all states is $0.5212 per gallon. Oklahoma has the second lowest taxes among all states at $0.3540. Just above it, Missouri has a gas tax of $0.3575. Mississippi’s is $0.3719 per gallon. Texas is also well under the national average at $0.3840. Louisiana’s is $0.3841, South Carolina’s is $0.3915, Alabama’s is $0.3931 and Arkansas’s is $0.4020.
While oil prices are the major component of gas prices, state taxes are often overlooked. And they are unlikely to change very much. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, most increases have been a few pennies, even as the number of states that have bumped them has grown. The organization reports:
In total, 27 states have raised or reformed their gas taxes since 2013. That number could soon rise to 28, depending on the outcome of a 10-cent increase Missouri residents will vote on in November.
Most of these are below $0.10, and many are well below that level.
Stating the obvious: the states that should continue to see the lowest gas prices are those where state governments have given their residents an advantage.