The True Cost of Gas in Every U.S. State [2021 Survey]

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Step aside, Dunkin’: America runs on gasoline. As one of the largest countries in the world, biking doesn’t always cut it when it comes to commuting. Whether you’re a couch-obsessed homebody or an adventurer that thrives on the open road, we Americans can all agree that we rely on gas to get us through our daily lives. Some of us use gas to get out of the house, whereas others use gas as a means to hurry back home. Regardless of your lifestyle, it’s safe to assume that gas plays a pretty big role.

Some states, however, don’t necessarily need as much gas as others. A city-dweller that walks to work a couple of blocks down the street isn’t going to spend as much time and money filling up on gas as someone in a rural part of the country, commuting an hour to and from their office job twice a day, 5 days a week. At Upgraded Points, we care about getting the most out of the things we spend our money on, and that includes gas. So, we decided to take a look at the gas-buying patterns of Americans and their habits at the pump.

We surveyed over 3,000 American drivers to find the true cost of gas in each state. Read on to see what we found!

Gas Pump Statistics by Frequency and Cost

Pie Charts demonstrating how often Americans fill up at the pump
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

First, we analyzed survey responses on a state-by-state basis to find the states that fill their tanks the most and those that spend the most on gas.

States That Fill Up Their Tanks the Most & Least

Northern states tend to fill up on gas the most — probably to avoid walking in the brutally cold weather. Michigan tops the list of states that fill its tanks the most, with over 61% of the population reportedly filling their tank once a week or more. Following closely behind are the New England states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, with approximately 60%, 59%, and 55% of residents filling up their tanks once a week or more.

On the other hand, New York is the state that fills up its tanks the least. 1 in 5 New York state residents fills their tank once a month or less. As home to the Big Apple, it can be assumed that a decent portion of the population doesn’t have a need to drive– after all, who wants to compete with the traffic in New York City? New Mexico and Oregon follow New York’s lead, with at least 15% of the population only filling up on gas once a month or less.

States That Spend the Most & Least on Gas per Month

The states that fill their tanks the most aren’t necessarily the same states that spend the most of their monthly budget on gas.

While Michigan is the exception, topping the rankings with 48% of residents spending over $100 on gas each month, many states that spend the most on gas are not in the top 10 states that fill up the most. West Virginia is an example of this. Nearly half of the residents in this small, East Coast state (46%) spend more than $100 per month on gas without being in the top 10 states that fill up the most. The same goes for the golden state of California, where 42% of residents spend more than $100 per month on gas but don’t rank in the top 10 states that fill their tank the most.

In direct contrast, Delaware ranks as a state that fills up the most, but also as a state that spends the least on gas. 49% of Delaware residents spend $50 or less on gas each month. If any Delawareans have money-saving gas secrets, we’re all ears!

Gas Pump Statistics by Remote Work Status

Graphs breaking down the difference in gas consumption between remote & in-person workers
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

The pandemic marked a shift in the number of people working remotely vs. in the office. With more people working from home, it’s no surprise that they would use less gas. After all, the commute from the bedroom to the kitchen table doesn’t require any gas.

69% of remote workers fill up every other week or less compared to non-remote workers, of which 46% fill up once a week or more.

Interestingly, remote workers are less likely to feel that gas prices are impacting their personal finances. A majority of work-from-home employees (58%) say that the cost of gas is not a factor in their personal finances, whereas a majority of in-person employees (62.6%) say that gas prices do impact their finances. We suppose it all comes down to the morning commute that remote workers get to sleep through.

Habits at the Pump

Charts showing the different habits of Americans at the pump broken down by gender
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Americans’ habits at the pump vary for many reasons. For one, men and women have different gas-pumping tendencies. Nearly half of all women wait until the needle gets to “E” before filling their gas tank again, whereas only 34% of men do the same. Women may wait to fill their tank longer than men, but men are much more likely to be found without gas. A whopping 29% of American males have completely run out of gas while driving, compared to just 15.5% of American females who say the same.

When it comes to choosing a station to fill up, most Americans aren’t picky. Nearly 70% say they choose a gas station based on convenience, though 30% of Americans are loyal to a specific gas station brand. Whether out of convenience or brand loyalty, the most frequented gas stations are Shell, Chevron, and Exxon.

What’s more, technology shifts are evident in how people choose to pay for gas. Nearly half of millennials (47.5%) use a credit card when paying for gas, whereas only 7% of Americans overall still use cash. This is due in part to the possibility of earning points, airline miles, or cash-back on a particular credit card. If this sounds like you, check out our extensive guides to the best personal and business credit cards for gas station purchases to find out more about how to maximize your fuel purchases.

Do Gas Expenses Drive Electric Vehicle Purchases?

Map depicting reasons why Americans are choosing to drive electric vehicles
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

As the race for electric vehicles (EVs) intensifies, we decided to take a look at how gas prices impact EV sales. We found that the number 1 reason Americans have purchased or considered purchasing an EV is for environmental benefits, as cited by 67% of overall respondents. This number is bigger among younger generations, as an overwhelming 71.8% of Gen Z says that the most important factor in their decision to get an EV is to be more sustainable and reduce carbon footprints.

Gas prices ranked as the second-most popular factor in deciding to purchase an EV. 24% of respondents agreed that high gas prices are the most important factor in making the decision to switch to an EV. Oregon and New York are the states with the most EV owners, according to our survey, with 5.66% of Oregon respondents and 4% of New York respondents already driving EVs. But, the popularity of EVs is only expected to grow. 2 in 5 Americans are considering purchasing an EV — a number we’re sure will skyrocket in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

No matter how you choose to use your gas, Upgraded Points is here to help you get the most out of your purchase. Find the right credit card and maximize your points with our expert credit card reviews. Or, follow one of our travel guides to help you decide how to use that full tank of gas.


Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

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