Energy Economy

Gas Prices Top $4

Gasoline prices have surged above $4 a gallon as crude oil prices have spiked. The cost of an average gallon of regular is above that level in 10 states. And those 10 states include a large part of the U.S. population. (These states have the highest and lowest gas taxes.)

The states with gas above $4 are Washington and California (both over $5), as well as Hawaii, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Idaho and Illinois. Together, these states have populations of 74 million, which is 23% of the U.S. total of 332 million.

Nationwide, the price of an average gallon of regular is $3.83. That is up from $3.75 a month ago.

Transportation costs are one factor in prices. The states with the lowest prices tend to be close to the massive refineries on the Gulf of Mexico or other, smaller ones around the country. Each state with high gas prices falls into the opposite category.

The other factor is state gas taxes. In California, they are the highest in the country at over $0.86 a gallon. The national average is $0.57. Illinois is second on the list at $0.87, and Hawaii is near the top at about $0.70.

Due to the state tax issue, most of these states will have the highest gas prices no matter which direction oil trades.

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