The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a report on Americans’ oil vulnerability. The report ranks states based on what residents spend as a percentage of their income on gasoline, Rhode Island ranks right about in the middle at 27; spending 5.40% or $2214.95 per year on gasoline. Meanwhile Connecticut ranks 50th (or in this case best) at 3.24% – $1824.58 and Massachusetts ranks 48th at 3.66% – $1856.18 (NY, who we have a water border with is 49th, 3.44% – $1654.17).
So all of our neighbors are doing better than us when it comes to spending on fuel. Why is this? Part of course may be that our income levels are lower than in CT, MA, and NY so as we make less, a larger percentage of our income goes towards fuel. However, our actual dollar spending is also higher than our neighbors (in fact, in New England, only Maine spends more dollars on fuel than we do, and Maine is a much larger state).
As a small state with a dense population, we really should be way out in the lead here. Rhode Islanders utter fear of driving any more than 15 minutes in any direction should be enough to move us to the front of the pack, but it is not. Where are we all driving to that is making us spend more on fuel than our neighbors. Do they walk more, do they have closer access to what they need than we do, is it because we are all the time driving to Seekonk to save money on sales tax? Connecticut has a huge population of people who commute to work in New York via train, Boston has very high levels of transit usage due to a robust transit system, is our transit system not up to snuff enough to get people to commute on it?
There is good news, according to the full report Rhode Island is 13th in the Solutions rankings, meaning we are doing better than most on moving towards reducing oil dependancy.
What do you think Rhode Island should be doing and needs to do to reduce our dependancy on gasoline?