Gas prices continue to impact the budgets of Americans, but some states are feeling the effects more than others.
FinanceBuzz looked at the burden of gas prices across the country to see which drivers shell out the most money because of the high cost of gas — and no one wants to give up more of their hard-earned cash.
We looked not only at the cost of gas but also the miles driven by pickup truck and SUV owners in the state and median annual income for full-time workers. (You can see the complete methodology in the report.) Taken together, the data show what percentage of a driver’s monthly income is spent on gas in each state.
According to FuelEconomy.gov, the average combined highway and city miles per gallon for a pickup truck is 16, so these aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles. Here are the states where truck and SUV drivers face the biggest hit to their income when it comes to gas prices.
Alabama drivers of pickup trucks and SUVs seem to be bearing the brunt of high gas prices. The state ranked at the top of our list with the highest percentage of income spent on gas. In the state, 7.71% of a driver’s monthly income is going into their gas tanks.
One factor that may play a role is that Alabamans drive an average 1,087.72 miles per month, which puts them third among states for the most vehicle miles traveled. The state also has one of the lowest monthly incomes, coming in at $3,652 per household.
Alabama is almost a percentage point higher than second-place Wyoming, but that doesn’t mean the state isn’t feeling the weight of gas prices. Currently, 6.82% of a driver’s income is going to gas for their trucks or SUVs.
Wyoming is one of the few states on our list that isn’t part of the American South.
Next door to Alabama is Mississippi, where 6.71% of a driver’s monthly income is spent on gas. The state also has one of the lowest incomes in the country at $3,354 per month per household.
In fourth place is Arkansas, where drivers spend 6.54% of their income to gas up their trucks and SUVs. The state has the third-lowest income in the country at $3,421 per month per household.
Monthly income is a big factor for Arkansas’s inclusion on the list, considering it currently has the lowest cost for a gallon of gas among the top 10 states being hit the hardest. As of April 21, a gallon cost $3.742, which is below the national average of $4.120.
Along with Wyoming, New Mexico is the only western state on this list, with drivers paying 6.36% of their income per month to fill up the gas tanks for their trucks and SUVs. Again, a big factor may be monthly income. The average household income is $3,519 per month, one of the five lowest incomes in the country.
In addition to a low income, New Mexico residents pay the highest price for a gallon of gas at $4.115.
The East Coast state of North Carolina comes in sixth on our list. State residents driving a pickup truck or SUV should expect to have 6.0% of their monthly income to fill up their tanks. Gas prices are averaging $3.839 per gallon in the state, according to AAA.
Florida has the second-highest cost per gallon on our list as of April 21. A gallon will run a driver $4.113 there, slightly lower than the cost in New Mexico. That may be one reason why Florida drivers have to budget 5.96% of their monthly income to top off the tanks of their trucks and SUVs.
The Hoosier State is eighth on our list with 5.78% of their monthly income going to gas for their vehicles. As of April 21, the state’s average gallon of gas was just under $4 at $3.918.
Missouri drivers have one of the lower costs per gallon for gas in the country, but that doesn’t seem to be helping what percentage of their income is going to gas. The Show Me State’s drivers are paying 5.48% of their monthly income for gas with an average gallon costing $3.758.
Tennessee and South Carolina
These two states in the South are tied for the last spot on our top 10 list with drivers in each state paying around 5.48% of their monthly income for gas in their SUVs and trucks. Both states, however, are on the lower end of average gas prices. In Tennessee, a gallon costs $3.859 while it costs $3.796 in South Carolina for one gallon, as of April 21.
What you can do to save on gas
Gas prices may still be high, but there are some ways to lessen the pain and save money at the pump.
- Look into gas apps like GasBuddy or Fuelio to help you compare prices from different gas stations to find the best deal. They can also help you calculate the cost of gas to help you prepare for road trips.
- Sign up for rewards programs at your preferred gas stations. Rewards programs could save some cash at the pump or inside their stores.
- Memberships to retailers like Costco or Sam’s Club can help you save some extra cash by filling up at their gas stations, which usually charge a little less than other retailers for a gallon.
- Use one of the best credit cards for gas so you can earn rewards or cash back on your fuel purchases.
Driving a pickup truck or SUV may be putting a dent in your wallet each time you have to fill up, but there are ways to avoid the pain at the pump. If you didn’t see your state in FinanceBuzz’s top 10 states where truck and SUV drivers spend the highest percentage of their income on gas, check out our full study to see where your state lands.