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Surprise! The Top 10 Most Oil Dependent States Are Also Among the Poorest

oil dependent statesThe Natural Resources Defense Council released a list today of the most oil dependent states, and there are few surprises. None of the states at the top of the list are known for their alternative energy efforts, and almost all of them (with the exception of Georgia and Texas) rank in the bottom 20 of the 50 states in median household income. This is a serious problem—residents of the poorest states are finding themselves spending the largest proportion of their income on oil and gas. This is partially because residents of Mississippi have less income to begin with than residents of New York. But New Yorkers also spend an average of $1654.17 yearly on gas, compared to Mississippi's $2702.

At the same time, states on the list including Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma are doing the least out of all the states to wean themselves off oil. And states like New Jersey, New York, and California that spend the least on oil are doing the most to further decrease dependence.

So what can be done to save oil dependent areas? The NRDC suggests the obvious—add more clean cars, biofuels, and public transit. Since most of the states on the list can't afford to do this themselves, the federal government will have to step up and implement strong energy policies. Otherwise, the poorest states in the union will continue to get poorer.

The list of the top 10 most oil dependent states are below. Check out the NRDC's full report here.

Rank State Percent
of Income
1 Mississippi 9.14% $2702.00
2 Montana 8.07% $2762.94
3 South Carolina 7.59% $2419.61
4 Oklahoma 7.50% $2766.65
5 Louisiana 7.00% $2540.66
6 Kentucky 6.84% $2178.30
7 Texas 6.80% $2622.05
8 New Mexico 6.79% $2177.51
9 Georgia 6.71% $2278.92
10 Arkansas 6.68% $2089.00