Why does Wyoming have the cheapest gas right now?
April 28, 2006 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Why is Wyoming the cheapest US state for gas right now and why does this map of gas prices look strangely similar to the 2004 voting maps?

My initial inclination would have put Texas or coastal states near the bottom where oil is more accessible. But I'm sure it's more tied in to state/local economies and the demand/usage of gas in the region. But still, why Wyoming?
posted by p3t3 to Travel & Transportation around Wyoming (20 answers total)
 
A less populous state, less fuel tax, less pollution regulations. Price differences aren't on account of crude oil, of which everyone must pay market price, but of transportation costs, refining costs, additive costs and taxes.
posted by geoff. at 8:55 AM on April 28, 2006


Republicans are anti-tax. Simple as that...
posted by trinarian at 8:57 AM on April 28, 2006


Ah yes, the taxes. Stupid me ;)

I didn't think about the state pollution regulations though, that makes sense too.
posted by p3t3 at 9:01 AM on April 28, 2006


List of gas taxes, by state. Wyoming is 15 cents, which is low. Most are closer to 25 cents. Texas is 20.

Also, the standard gas in Wyoming is 85 octane, due to the higher elevation. Most places it is 87. That's a few cents off the price.
posted by smackfu at 9:12 AM on April 28, 2006


If you comparing with 2004 election results, you should compare with this map of election results by county.. Apples to apples, oranges to oranges, you know...
posted by Robert Angelo at 9:39 AM on April 28, 2006


Wyoming is where Dick Cheney lives . . .
posted by beagle at 9:44 AM on April 28, 2006


My initial inclination would have put ... coastal states near the bottom where oil is more accessible.

Something we keep hearing in California is local regulations mandate fuel which causes less emissions. This type of gasoline costs more to produce, hence higher costs at the pump.
posted by Rash at 9:45 AM on April 28, 2006


Sinclair Wyoming,always has the lowest price for gas, being Dick Cheny's home state has nothing to do with it
posted by hortense at 9:53 AM on April 28, 2006


Yeah, I'd say the Cheney connection is irrelevant. Besides, he lives in the Vice President's residence in DC, and gas isn't cheap there.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:08 AM on April 28, 2006


Yeah, I'd say the Cheney connection is irrelevant. Besides, he lives in the Vice President's residence in DC, and gas isn't cheap there.

And Cheney probably doesn't pay for his own hookers, much less his gas. The administration doesn't car what gas costs, beyond the fact that gas costing what it should is a good way to get people to take it to the street.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:27 AM on April 28, 2006


I think it's more about the tax issues and the octane grade, but Wyoming also has a petroleum industry. I don't know if they have any refineries there, but there are two or three about 10mi north of SLC, Utah, which isn't all that far from the WY border by rail. So, reconsider assumptions about their supply situation.
posted by Good Brain at 10:44 AM on April 28, 2006


By petroleum industry I meant that they actually produce oil.
posted by Good Brain at 10:45 AM on April 28, 2006


It will be interesting to compare this map to how it looks after Memorial Day. I can guarantee you that areas with a large tourism industry will turn redder. (I used to live in South Dakota. Between Memorial and Labor Days, gas prices would shoot up 25% or more.)
posted by forrest at 10:56 AM on April 28, 2006


Sinclair Wyoming,always has the lowest price for gas,

Last time I drove through (1997) I filled up the truck for 89 cents a gallon, in plain sight of the refinery. When I got to Tulsa it was $1.09 -- and this is a town with two refineries.

Here's a comparison of fuel tax rates by state. Note that Wyoming's is higher than a number of states, e.g. Georgia and New Jersey.

So, I'd think cost of living has a lot to do with the low prices.

Also, no town in Wyoming needs the pollution-reducing ethanol blends that are jacking up the prices everywhere else.
posted by dw at 11:03 AM on April 28, 2006


Oregon and New Jersey prices are inflated slighty by forbidding self-serve, in an effort designed to preserve jobs. That's offset in NJ by their relatively low tax and the fact that gas is refined there. Of the states I frequent these days (MA, CT, NY, NJ), Jersey generally has the lowest prices. We try to avoid filling up in CT.
posted by jalexei at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2006


List of global gas prices, Venezuela at $0.12 is hard to beat...
posted by 445supermag at 1:11 PM on April 28, 2006


While it doesn't look exactly like the election map, there is the correlation between high gas prices and high density urban areas, and democrat vote and high density urban areas.

While most democrats would probably like to lay claim to the idea that the high density urban areas are just more progressive and forward thinking (thus voting for democrats) anyone who has ever spent time in the slums of Detroit, Atlanta, New York, or Chicago knows thats hardly the case. The majority vote for the hand that feeds.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 2:08 PM on April 28, 2006


I might be off base, but don't a lot of municipalities use gas taxes to subsidise public transportation? There isn't much of that here on the prarie... Besides, overhead for gas stations is considerably cheaper in rural areas. A month's rent in some locales would pay for a good chunk of the year in Correctionville, IA.
posted by jaysus chris at 8:25 PM on April 28, 2006


The west coast's gas prices are higher because most oil originates in the east (Persian Gulf, Venezuela, etc.) and has to go through the Panama Canal to get there.

As for the rest of the country, last August Congress passed a law mandating that more ethanol be added to gasoline, starting about now. In general this is a good thing but the industry wasn't ready for it, so in the areas that lack ethanol (eg the northeast) are hurting. Notice how green Minnesota and Iowa look on that map?

But why Wyoming has the lowest gas prices is still a mystery to me.
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:02 PM on April 28, 2006


The west coast's gas prices are higher because most oil originates in the east (Persian Gulf, Venezuela, etc.) and has to go through the Panama Canal to get there.

Alaska? Alberta?
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2006


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