2010 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
Mississippi and Montana drivers were both predicted to spend more than ten percent of their income on gasoline during a sustained price spike while New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts drivers would still be under the five-percent mark.
The point? That those who are just struggling to get by now won't be able to sustain their lifestyle at all if gasoline prices spike while the affects of the recession persist.
If you're not sure if you can weather the next storm, it might be worthwhile to crunch out how much you're spending on gasoline—possibly by checking out estimated Annual Fuel Cost figures at the federal government's FuelEconomy.gov site. For instance, a new 2010 Toyota Sequoia costs $2,791 per year, given an estimated 15,000 miles of driving, while a 2010 Toyota Prius costs just $837. Listings for previous model years are there as well.
NRDC, which points out that the U.S. currently imports more than two thirds of our crude oil supply from abroad, and 96 percent of out transportation system is reliant on oil, used the results to rally for legislative action from Congress, more promotion of fuel-efficient vehicles, clean fuels, and smart growth through local and state governments, and federal transportation reform that includes transportation alternatives.
The results serve to emphasize that in those states where drivers already spend a disproportionately large amount of their income on gasoline, price spikes are going to affect struggling Americans (and their local economies) a lot harder.
"Drivers in many states are hurting," the group asserts, "and if gasoline prices spike again, they will be hurting even more."