It seems like for every week that goes by commuters are feeling increasingly pinched as the average nationwide cost of gas inches up towards $4 dollars a gallon.
However, since driving habits, travel demands and gas prices vary considerably -- depending on which region of the country you're from -- it's might be more accurate to say the problem cuts much deeper financially for some than others.
But just how drastic is the cost disparity?
A study released by Mint.com reveals that residents of some major cities can end up paying more than twice as much each month as residents in another city. This eye-popping statistic and other surprising conclusions were drawn from an analysis of data reported by the site's users, which included their location and how often they visited the pump.
Topping the list as the top fuel-spending city is San Jose, California where residents fork over on average $216 dollars a month on fuel, while New Yorkers, on the other end of the spectrum, spend an average of $102 dollars a month. The wide disparity likely has a lot to do with the fact that big apple dwellers also have the option of using the subway and other popular modes of public transportation, which also might explain why they refuel on average only twice a month whereas Americans refuel about six times a month.
A more useful statistic for those who primarily drive is the total amount of money spent each time residents of a particular city visit the pump -- a better indicator of the differences in per gallon costs. So when the numbers are broken down this way, we learn that re-fueling tends to be most expensive in the Bay Area with San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland ranked as the top three, followed by New York and Brooklyn. And where is the cheapest place to refuel? The answer is Tucson, Arizona where commuters pay about $25 dollars.
Ironically, I grew up in San Jose up until I was 21 years old before moving to New York five years ago and a major part of adjusting to living on the east coast was trading in my car for a transit pass, a transition that diminished the impact of gas prices on my life to the point where it no longer crossed my mind. Yet even today, I haven't paused to think how much money I've saved since I offed my car. Why? Perhaps just the peace of mind of not having to has made making the switch more than worth it.
Image: Mint.com (slightly modified)
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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com