Timed just before the long Thanksgiving weekend, NRDC has released a new report examining which US states are most dependent on oil, which are doing the most to wean themselves off oil, and which places have the greatest risk of vulnerability to changes in oil prices.
The overarching conclusion of the Fighting Oil Addicton report:
Oil dependence affects all states, but some states' drivers are hit harder economically than others. Drivers in every state in 2011 spent a higher percentage of their income on gasoline than they did in 2010, and drivers in the most vulnerable states spent more than twice as large a percentage of their income on gasoline as drivers in the least vulnerable states. Drivers in most states (42) were hit even harder in 2011 than they were during the previous heights of vulnerability in 2008.
While some states are pioneering solutions and many are taking some action, many states are still taking few, if any, of the steps listed in this report to reduce their oil dependence.
As you can see in the chart above ranking states' oil vulnerability, Mississippi and West Virginia have the greatest risk, with residents of both states spending over 8% of their income of gasoline purchases.
In Mississippi people spend on average 8.98% of their income to fuel their vehicles. The state has ranked first in oil vulnerability every year since 2006. In West Virginia people are spending 8.1% of their income to fill their cars. The state had a significant change in place ranking since 2010, rising to second place from 16th last year, overtaking South Carolina, where 7.91% of income is spent on gasoline.
Rounding out the top 10 places for oil vulnerability: Kentucky (7.89% of income spent on gasoline), Oklahoma (7.56%), Texas (7.3%), Georgia (7.21%), Iowa (7.18%), New Mexico (7.13%), Arkansas (7.1%). Though each of these states changed ranking in 2011, all but Texas were still in the top 10.
California Doing Most, Nebraska Doing Least to Reduce Oil Dependency
As far as places taking the least action to reduce their addiction to oil, there's some overlap with places with high oil vulnerability risk, but not as much as you might expect.
The ten states doing the least, from 50th to 41st places in the nation: Nebraska, Alaska, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas.
And the states doing the most to reduce oil addition, from 1st to 10th: California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont.