Drivers in These 10 States Spend the Highest Percentage of Their Income on Gas

FinanceBuzz finds what percentage of income drivers are having to spend on gas each month, and drivers in these states are being hit hardest.
Last updated May 13, 2022 | By Jenny Cohen | Edited By Ellen Cannon
man with empty purse on gas station

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Gas prices are starting to ease from their record highs in March of 2022, but Americans are still feeling the pinch when they fill up their tanks.

And some states are feeling it more than others. FinanceBuzz analyzed the burden of gas prices across the country to find the drivers who pay the most in gas by state. We looked at the price of a gallon of gas as well as miles driven in the state and the median annual income for full-time workers. The data was then put together to show what percentage of a driver’s monthly income is spent on gas in each state.

Are you a resident of one of the states where drivers face the biggest hit to their wallets to pay for gas?

Alabama

Nick Fox/Adobe Welcome to Alabama road sign

Alabama drivers are digging deep into their wallets regardless of whether they drive a car or less fuel-efficient truck or SUV. Car drivers are spending 5.55% of their monthly income to fill up their tanks while truck and SUV drivers are spending 7.71%. That’s the highest in the country.

A few things contribute to such a high percentage for cars, trucks, and SUVs in the state. Alabamans drive 1,087.72 miles per month on average, putting them third among states for the most vehicle miles traveled. The state also has an average monthly income of $3,652 per household, making it one of the lowest in the country.

Wyoming

Rex Wholster/Adobe highway sign indicating the border of Wyoming

Wyoming is second on our list, but it’s noticeably lower than Alabama in terms of percentages. Truck and SUV drivers pay 6.82% of their monthly income for gas while car drivers spend 4.91% to fill up their tank.

Wyoming is one of only two states in the western United States to make our list.

Mississippi

spiritofamerica/Adobe Welcome to Mississippi state road sign

Alabama’s neighbor Mississippi is also on this list with 6.71% of truck and SUV drivers’ monthly income spent on gas. Car drivers face spending 4.83% of their income on gas. One factor for this may be that the state has one of the lowest incomes in the country at $3,354 per month per household.

Arkansas

Steve Dally/Adobe Rainbow Bridge Cotter Arkansas

Arkansas takes fourth place on our list with car drivers spending 4.7% of their income on gas, while truck and SUV drivers are spending 6.54% to gas up. The state has one of the lowest incomes in the country at $3,421 per month per household, which is potentially a major contributing factor to the state’s inclusion on our list. Arkansas currently has one of the lowest costs for a gallon of gas among the top 10 states on our list with a gallon of gas costing an average of $3.742 as of April 25.

New Mexico

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Santa Fe New Mexico USA

New Mexico is the second of two western states on the list with 6.36% of monthly income spent on gas to fill up their trucks and SUVs or 4.57% for car owners. The average household income is $3,519 per month for the state, making it one of the lowest incomes in the country.

In addition to a low income, New Mexico residents pay one of the highest prices for a gallon of gas compared with other states on our list. A gallon of gas costs $4.107 as of April 25.

North Carolina

Jill Lang/Adobe Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina comes in sixth on our list with residents driving a pickup truck or SUV paying 6.0% of their monthly income to fill up their tanks. Car drivers should expect to pay 4.36% of their monthly income to gas up. Prices are averaging $3.822 per gallon in the state as of April 25, according to AAA.

Florida

Gabriele Maltinti/Adobe Green bike lane in world famous Miami Beach

A gallon will run a driver $4.098 in Florida, which factors into truck and SUV drivers paying 5.96% of their monthly income to top off the tanks. Car drivers are spending 4.29% of their income on gas.

Indiana

Henryk Sadura/Adobe Welcome to Indiana road sign against blue sky.

Indiana is eighth on our list with 5.78% of their monthly income going to gas for trucks and SUVs, while car drivers should expect to spend 4.16% of their income on gas. As of April 25, the Hoosier State’s average gallon of gas was just under $4 at $3.917.

Missouri

digidreamgrafix/Adobe Saint Louis Missouri downtown at daylight

Missouri drivers have one of the lower costs per gallon for gas in the country with an average of $3.759 per gallon. That doesn’t seem to be helping budgets, though, as truck and SUV drivers are paying 5.48% of their monthly income for gas and car drivers are paying 3.94% of their income to fill up in the Show Me State.

Tennessee and South Carolina

4kclips/Adobe Colorful Nashville Broadway at night

These two southern states tied for the tenth place on our list with drivers paying around 5.48% of their monthly income for gas in their SUVs and trucks. Car drivers should expect to spend 3.86% of their income on gas.

Both states are below the national average of $4.123 per gallon, according to AAA. In Tennessee, a gallon costs $3.848 while it costs $3.783 in South Carolina for one gallon, as of April 25.

What you can do to save on gas

andreykr/Adobe Welcome to South Carolina sign

Gas prices may be decreasing, but there are also other ways to save money at the pump as you wait for prices to go down further.

  • Gas apps like GasBuddy or Fuelio could help you find different prices at local gas stations to get the best deal. They can also help you budget how much it may cost you in gas for road trips over short or long distances.
  • Rewards programs at your preferred gas stations may save you some cash at the pump or inside their stores. Find out the requirements to sign up and start saving.
  • Warehouse retailers like Costco or Sam’s Club could save some extra cash by filling up at their gas stations if you have a membership. They usually charge a little less than other retailers for a gallon.
  • Use one of the best credit cards for gas to earn cash back or rewards the next time you have to fill up your tank.

Bottom line

misunseo/Adobe twenty dollar bills sticking out of a car gas cap

While gas prices may be declining slightly, they still could be putting a dent in your wallet each time you have to fill up. There are, however, ways to minimize the damage, particularly for drivers who visit a station on a regular basis.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.