Friday, March 09, 2012

Graphic: Gas Prices Hurt Red States More Than Blue

An analysis of the rise of gas prices shows that they do not affect blue states (those that lean or vote Democratic in presidential elections) and red states (those that lean or vote Republican in presidential elections) equally. Gas prices are actually lower on average in red states than blue states, but residents in red states pay more of their income on gas.
The disparities are stark: Wyoming drivers pay $3.21 per gallon while drivers in California pay $4.34. And, oddly enough, the differences line up well with partisan patterns — Houser found that blue states pay significantly higher prices per gallon than red states.

But here’s the catch: Red states may enjoy cheaper gasoline, but they also tend to be less dense and have less-efficient vehicles, and their residents tend to drive more miles each day. Wyoming residents may pay less per gallon, but they use more gallons of gasoline. And this is a consistent pattern: Houser found that deep-red states are actually shelling out more for gasoline as an overall percentage of their income.
So, I guess the important question is which effect will have a larger impact on the presidential election and whether the salience of the "gas prices" issue in political analysis will be diminished due to this analysis.

Hat/tip to Wonk Blog

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