Investing

The States Where People Can't Afford Gas

5. Michigan
> Median Income: $45,994 (20th lowest)
> Regular Gas Price: $3.94 (9th highest)

> Unemployment: 10.4% (6th highest)
> Population Below Poverty Line: 19.07% (15th highest)

Gas prices in Michigan are the ninth-highest in the country, which may further hurt the state’s unemployment rate, which is already the country’s sixth-highest. One industry being affected is the construction industry, which is struggling with the rising costs of material.  Quoted by local northern Michigan TV news broadcast 9&10 News, Mike Ferraro, the President of Ferraro Builders Inc, said “We have to pass that along to some extent and the difficulty is determining how much of this increase expenses we can pas so to the consumer versus how much we’re able to essentially absorb.”

4. North Carolina
> Median Income: $41,906 (8th lowest)
> Regular Gas Price: $3.89 (11th highest)
> Unemployment: 9.7% (12th highest)
> Population Below Poverty Line: 20% (13th highest)

North Carolina has the eleventh-highest gas prices in the country.  It also has the eighth-lowest median income.  Those who make less money are being affected by gas prices in a number of ways.  One North Carolina news source refers to a man who has begun working twelve-hour work days to pay for the gas he uses to commute to his job.  Extra curricular or leisure activities may also be abandoned, as more money is spent on fuel.

3. West Virginia
> Median Income: $40,490 (5th lowest)
> Regular Gas Price: $3.88 (12th highest)
> Unemployment: 9.4% (16th highest)
> Population Below Poverty Line: 22.07% (5th highest)

West Virgina has the fifth-lowest median income in the country, as well as the fifth-greatest percentage of its population below the poverty line.  Quoted in the Parkersburg  News And Sentinel, Wayne Waldeck, the chief executive officer at Wal-bon Corp.,which is the owner of a local pizza restaurant, said that he spends “thousands of dollars a week on gasoline for [his] delivery trucks.”  He then noted that amount is getting worse.  This sort of problem is occurring across the state, and delivery charges are being increased in response, passing further costs onto consumers.

2. Indiana
> Median Income: $44,305 (12th lowest)
> Regular Gas Price: $4.04 (4th highest)
> Unemployment: 8.8% (24th highest)
> Population Below Poverty Line: 17.57% (20th highest)

Indiana currently has the fourth-highest gas prices in the country.  It is the first time since 2008 that gas prices have passed an average of $4 per gallon.  One way in which people have reacted is by staging a boycott of buying gasoline for one day.  Quoted in The Star Press, Greg Seiter of AAA Hoosier Motor Club said, “If past experiences are any indication, the $4 mark tends to move people in ways that other price levels don’t…you’re going to notice people cutting back on driving, sharing rides, shopping aggressively for gas prices and doing everything they can to save themselves a little money.”

1. Alabama
> Median Income: $39,980 (3rd lowest)
> Regular Gas Price: $4.17 (3rd highest)
> Unemployment: 9.3% (18th highest)
> Population Below Poverty Line: 21.77% (6th highest)

Alabama has the third-highest gas prices in the country and the third-lowest median income.  Just under 22% of the state’s population is also living below the poverty line.  This is the sixth-greatest amount among the states.  Many of those living on the Gulf Coast have complained that these prices are coming just one year after the major BP oil spill disrupted their lives.  Tourism spots which were closed by the Deepwater Horizon disaster will now have to handle the drop in tourist traffic due to gasoline prices.

Douglas A. McIntyre & Charles B. Stockdale