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June 12th, 2008 (Modified on June 26th, 2008)

Different States, Different Gas Prices



How can neighboring states like New Jersey and New York have such different gas prices? Why does California have the most expensive gas, while Missouri has the cheapest?

There are various reasons. Each state’s gas tax, proximity to distribution points, and different blends of gasoline are just some factors that explain why each state charges different prices for gas. New Jersey’s gas tax is one of the lowest in the country at 14.5 cents, which help keeps their average prices under $4 a gallon. Yet their prices are still higher than in other states.

Despite having no oil refineries and accounting for zero percent of crude production, Missouri’s proximity to pipelines running through neighboring states, and delivery ports along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, keep prices lower.

On the other hand, California pumps gas that can peak at 40 cents above the national average. Environmental regulations require California to pump a unique blend of gas that is more expensive. Also, California is isolated from all suppliers east of the Rocky Mountains.

Early this morning Connecticut law makers voted to halt a hike in their state gas tax that could raise prices at the pump by five cents. Connecticut has the third highest gas prices in the country.

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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