The average New York driver saves more than $700 per year in gas, compared to the average driver in Mississippi, Natural Resources Defense Council states in its report Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States' Gasoline Price Vulnerability and Solutions for Change.
The report demonstrates that rising gas prices are hitting drivers all across the country. The states with smartest transportation policies, however, are helping their drivers to worry about their wallet less this summer.
One of the report's authors Deron Lovaas believes that there is no immediate solution to high gas prices. But smart transportation policies can reduce bills for all drivers in all areas. Better state and local policies create better transportation options such as transit assistance and telecommuting options, [which] can provide relief. Federal action -- such as increasing vehicle fuel efficiency standards to 60 miles per gallon -- would reduce oil price vulnerability across the board. We know we can't drill our way toward lower gas prices, so policies like these deliver.
New York is among 10 states that are doing the most to promote clean energy and reduce their dependence on oil. It is in the 4th position. California took first place in the ranking.
At the end of the ranking are #50 Nebraska, # 49 North Dakota, #48 Alaska, #47 Iowa.
Mississippi, South Carolina and Kentucky's drivers are most vulnerable to high gas prices, according to the report.
Regardless of how urban or rural the state, transportation is something everyone needs, said Elizabeth Hogan, an analyst at David Gardiner and Associates and co-author of the report. Many of the states where drivers are paying the most at the pump are the states offering drivers the least policy relief. Looking at all of the options available to state policymakers, it's clear which states are taking advantage of all the opportunities available to them.
The report recommends that states establish policies that reduce sprawl, reduce the number of miles that citizens need to travel in vehicles to get to work or school or other daily tasks, and promote accessible public transit systems.
New York is one of only three states that have targeted the reduction of the number of miles driven each year (the goal is to cut vehicle-miles travelled from projected levels by 10 percent in the next 10 years. California and Washington also have targets).
According to the report, New York is the top state in terms of allocating state funds to transit. And this money is critical for long-term ability of the state to reduce dependence on oil and ability to provide non-driving alternatives to driving in the short-term.
It is worth indicating some key policies at the city level. These is better bus service provided by the growing Select Bus Service--250 miles of new bike lanes. And the NYC Department of Transportation better bus service, provided by the growing Select Bus Service, 250 miles of new bike lanes.