Report Ranks States Most Vulnerable to Oil Price Hikes

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Suzanne Struglinski, 202-289-2387, sstruglinski@nrdc.org

Report Ranks States Most Vulnerable to Oil Price Hikes

New Officials Should Evaluate State Transportation Policies, Congress Must Act

WASHINGTON - Mississippi drivers spent nearly two and a half times more of their income for gasoline compared to their Connecticut counterparts, based on an income analysis released by the Natural Resources Defense Council today.  

The 2010 edition of the annual report, "Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States' Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change,” provides a detailed look at how oil prices affect consumers and ways in which smart policies can help break states’– and the country’s – addiction to oil.

“State lines shouldn’t lead to greater pain at the pump,” said Deron Lovaas, NRDC’s federal transportation policy director. “Smart transportation polices can reduce gas bills for all drivers, no matter where they live.”

The report calculates vulnerability to oil prices: how heavily each state’s drivers are affected by increases in oil prices. It also ranks states on their adoption of solutions to reduce their oil dependence – measures they are taking to lessen their vulnerability and to bolster America’s security.

According to the report, the 10 states most vulnerable to oil price increases are: #1 Mississippi, #2 Montana, #3 Louisiana, #4 Oklahoma, #5 South Carolina, #6 Texas, #7 Kentucky, #8 Utah, #9 Idaho, and #10 Arkansas.

The 10 states that are doing the most to promote clean energy technologies and reduce their dependence on oil are: #1 California, #2 Oregon, #3 Massachusetts, #4 New York , #5 Connecticut, #6 Washington, #7 Pennsylvania, #8 Minnesota , #9 New Mexico, and #10 Hawaii.

Meanwhile, the 10 states doing the least to reduce their oil dependence are: #50 Alaska, # 49 Wyoming, #48 Nebraska, #47 Ohio, #46 West Virginia, #45 Oklahoma,  #44 Mississippi, #43 Kansas, #42 Alabama, and #41 North Dakota.

States that take steps for better transportation policies not only help reduce the country’s dependence on oil but also reduce their drivers’ vulnerability to oil price fluctuations.

“Looking at the trends from 2006 until now, we see some states pioneering solutions and taking action,” said Elizabeth Hogan, an analyst at David Gardiner and Associates who co-authored the report. “However, many states are still taking few, if any, of the steps listed in this report to reduce their oil dependence. States, and the federal government, must lead America out of our onerous oil addiction.”

Drivers in every state spent a lowerpercentage of their income on gasoline in 2009 than they did in 2008, largely related to the rise in unemployment and the economic meltdown. Regardless, some states remain much more vulnerable to increases in oil prices than others.

"We shouldn’t have to wait for the economy to tank before we feel relief at the gas pump,” Lovaas said. “State and federal leaders, including new ones swept into office by the election this week, should adopt commonsense policies to get us off the oil-price rollercoaster for good.”

The report recommends that states take a proactive approach to transportation policies and that Congress enact “a fuel-saving transportation law without delay, one which fundamentally reforms federal transportation policy so it supports smart, transit-oriented development; assists states and regions in saving oil; and provides ample funding for energy-efficient transportation alternatives including rail and bus lines, bike paths, and sidewalks.”

“The Obama administration is on the right track with the new proposed fuel economy standards,” Lovaas said. “These should be set as high as possible and there are many other steps the administration, Congress, and the states can take to reduce the country’s oil use.”

The full report is available here.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

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