But a price spike similar to the one in July 2008 would have worsened the imbalance - Mississippi drivers would have seen driving costs shoot up to 11 percent of their annual income as opposed to just 4.3 percent for Connecticut and New York.
Gasoline prices today are lower than the highs of July 2008, but they are higher than they were in 2009. Analysts point to recent growing demand for oil that has led to higher prices, and they continue to debate the point at which oil production might peak over the next decade.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study first calculated on average how much licensed drivers in each state paid for gas in 2009, and then ranked states by the proportion of income that drivers spent on gas.
Among the 10 states that paid the most proportionally for gas were Mississippi, Montana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas Maine, Georgia and Idaho.
The 10 states that paid the least proportionally for gas included Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut.
The difference in proportion of income spent on gas widened dramatically when the NRDC recalculated the rankings by replacing the average gas price in 2009 with the price peak in July 2008 - as if prices had peaked during the recession.
This hypothetical scenario does not predict the chance of another gas price peak, but helps to highlight the imbalance of how much gas price spikes hurt certain drivers more than others.
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