Energy Business

The 10 States With the Cheapest Gas

Douglas A. McIntyre

5. Utah
> Price per gallon, regular: $3.56
> Cost of living: 6th lowest
> Median household income: $54,744 (13th highest)
> Tax per gallon: 24.5 cents (24th lowest)

While Utah residents have above-average income, the general cost of living is the sixth lowest. One of the reasons for this is the extremely low cost of fuel. The price of regular gas is $3.56 per gallon, down from $3.61 in October. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, transportation costs are the fifth lowest in the country and utilities costs are the fourth lowest in the U.S.

4. South Carolina
> Price per gallon, regular: $3.56
> Cost of living: 24th lowest
> Median household income: $42,018 (seventh lowest)
> Tax per gallon: 16.8 cents (fourth lowest)

Five months ago, South Carolina had the second-lowest gas prices in the country at $3.15 per gallon of regular. Today, the state is tied with Utah for the fourth-lowest gas prices in the country at $3.56 per gallon. According to CBS News, the average price of gas in South Carolina is rapidly approaching $4 per gallon, which may harm the state’s $14 billion tourism industry. Working in the residents’ favor is the state’s 16 cents tax on gas — among the lowest rates in the country, and which has not changed since 1987.

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3. Montana
> Price per gallon, regular: $3.45
> Cost of living: 20th highest
> Median household income: $42,666 (11th lowest)
> Tax per gallon: 27.8 cents (21st highest)

On July 1, a 12-inch Exxon pipeline buried under the Yellowstone River in Montana broke, releasing tens of thousands of gallons and halting the flow of crude oil from refineries in Billings, Montana. In October, the price of gas in the state was up to $3.63 per gallon. It has now fallen to $3.45 per gallon, the third cheapest in the country. Gas taxes in the state are relatively high, at 27.8 cents per gallon, but the presence of four refineries in the state to process oil from Canada and Montana has helped keep the price low.

2. Colorado
> Price per gallon, regular: $3.42
> Cost of living: 18th highest
> Median household income: $54,046 (15th highest)
> Tax per gallon: 22.0 cents (18th lowest)

Colorado is one of the few states on this list that is relatively wealthy, with the 15th-highest median income in the country. The price of regular gas in the state has actually decreased from $3.46 per gallon to $3.42 over the past five months. Colorado now has the second-cheapest gas price in the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Rocky Mountain states benefit from cheaper crude prices and refinery costs. In March, The Denver Post reported that, “[U.S.] Refineries get most of their oil from within the Rocky Mountain states or nearby parts of the Midwest or from Canada.”

1. Wyoming
> Price per gallon, regular: $3.30
> Cost of living: 24th highest
> Median household income: $53,512 (16th highest)
> Tax per gallon: 14.0 cents (second lowest)

Five months ago, the price of unleaded gasoline in Wyoming was $3.54, the 15th-highest rate in the country. As of today, the price has actually fallen 24 cents to $3.30, and is now the cheapest in the U.S. The state has a tax rate of just 14 cents per gallon of gas, second only to Alaska, which has the lowest gas tax in the country. The state has the smallest population in the country, but has six separate refineries, which together process more than 160,000 barrels each day. This production keeps prices extremely low in the state.

Michael B. Sauter, Charles B. Stockdale, Ashley C. Allen