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The national average price of a gallon of regular gas has surged over the past five months. As of April 21, 2024, a gallon of regular gasoline costs on average $3.67, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), which tracks fuel prices.

That’s up from $3.07 in January, but nowhere near the high of $5.02 recorded in June 2022.

The decline since 2022 has been a relief for Americans who’ve been reeling under inflation, which hit a 40-year high in the United States in mid-2022.

The relief is likely to be sustained with inflation expected to ease over the course of 2024 and gas prices — according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates — remaining roughly in the present range into the end of 2025.

Several price cuts by the OPEC+ cartel since April have failed to sustain high oil prices. Brent is currently trading at around $77 a barrel. The EIA forecasts Brent oil to average $82 per barrel in 2024 and $79 in 2025.

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Gas prices, however, vary greatly across the United States. And that has a big effect on both the cost of living and transport choices for lower and middle-income Americans.

A heat map indicating where gas is most expensive in the U.S. based on data from the AAA.

Californians Pay the Most for Gas in America

California has the most expensive gas prices in the U.S. Today, a gallon of regular gasoline averages $4.57 in California, which is painful, but not quite the $6 per gallon last September.

High gas prices are one reason why you’ll see a lot of Teslas on the road in California. And that’s by design. Taxes are a major reason why gas prices are so high in California. In California, gas taxes are about fifty percent higher than the national average, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Federal and state taxes, on average, make up around 17 percent of the cost of a gallon of regular gas at the pump, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

California is a leader in environmental regulations. By making gas less affordable, the state aims to incentivize a transition toward hybrid and all-electric vehicles. But gas taxes are regressive. The driver of a used Corolla pays the same amount as the driver of a luxury vehicle (though the latter probably would need premium fuel). While public transportation is a great equalizing force, its availability is uneven across the state.

And so it’s no surprise that California has seen a population exodus due to the rising cost of living and states like Texas, where gas and the overall cost of living are comparatively cheaper, are experiencing a population boom.

Hawaii

Hawaii has the second-most expensive gas in the U.S. Today, a gallon of regular gasoline averages $4.66 in Hawaii — not much of a drop from close to $4.84 per gallon last October.

David Hackett, an energy industry consultant, says gas prices in Hawaii tend to be “very sticky on the downside.” It’s no surprise that Hawaii has the highest cost of living among U.S. states, according to the Council for Community & Economic Research survey.

Washington and Nevada Gas Prices Among the Most Expensive in the U.S.

Earlier this year, the state of Washington had the most expensive gas in the United States. Today, a regular gallon of gasoline costs $4.02 a gallon on average in Washington — a significant drop from the roughly $5 per gallon last summer.

The Olympic Pipeline, which serves Washington and Oregon, was under maintenance last year amid rising summer demand. That has sent gas prices higher in both Pacific Northwest states.

The high gas prices stuck, due to the state’s new gas tax stemming from the Washington Climate Commitment Act. Washington now has the third-highest gasoline taxes in the country at $0.49 a gallon.

Nevada prices, now averaging $3.82 for a regular gallon, have declined from a high of close to $5 per gallon last year.

Cheapest Gas in the U.S. Is in Oklahoma

The lowest average gas price in the U.S. is in Oklahoma, averaging $2.56/gallon — $2.10 cheaper than Hawaii.

Gas prices are similarly low in Mississippi and Texas. In fact, the cheapest gas in America tends to be in the Gulf Coast states, where gas taxes are low and the greatest concentration of U.S. refining capacity is located.

Last fall, gas prices were cheapest in Georgia due to Governor Brian Kemp’s suspension of the gas tax, which saved drivers roughly 40 cents a gallon. The gas tax has since been reimposed.

As the map above shows, gas prices tend to fall into regional clusters. Gas is cheapest in the south and most expensive on the west coast.

States With the Most Expensive Gas in the U.S.

These are the states and territories with the most expensive gas in the United States. The prices listed are for the state-wide (or territory-wide) average of a gallon of regular gasoline on January 15, 2024, according to the AAA.

  1. Hawaii – $4.657
  2. California – $4.569
  3. Washington – $4.018
  4. Nevada – $3.821
  5. Oregon – $3.675
  6. Alaska – $3.553
  7. Pennsylvania – $3.327
  8. New York – $3.280
  9. Vermont – $3.225
  10. District of Columbia – $3.199

The Globely News team tracks the leaders, states, networks, ideologies, and technologies that are reshaping the world order. From AI and electric vehicles to the rise of China, we've got you covered.

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