The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline nationwide is just below $2.90. However, this does not show the extent to which $3 gas prices have spread. Most of the largest states by population are already above that number.
Specifically, the price of gas in California is $3.66, according to GasBuddy. California has 38 million residents. Gas prices in Michigan are $3.08. Its population is just below 10 million. In Pennsylvania, the average price for a gallon of regular is $3.04. The state has 12.8 million residents. The gas price in New York, with its 19.7 million residents, is $3.00, which is the same as Illinois, which has 12.9 million residents. Among them, these states have over 93 million residents.
The data show the extent to which gas prices are a regional problem. Texas is the second largest state, with a population of 26.5 million people. The cost of an average gallon or regular there is $2.64, which puts it in the bottom 10 among all states measured based on gas prices. Texas has the advantage of being on the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico, and some of the most massive refinery capacity in the world sits just south of Houston.
Economists worry that gas prices have started to erode discretionary income, particularly among drivers in the lower and middle classes. The effects should be more significant in the Northeast and Midwest, based on current prices.
Gas prices seem likely to continue to rise. Oil prices continue to move up. The International Energy Agency reports that supply could tighten this year and has warned this supply will be “stretched to the limit.” That means current oil prices of $70 a barrel could head toward $80. If so, the number of large states with gas prices over $3 will rise sharply.