Gas Prices & Income, Nationally (by County)

Today’s Chart Porn is The Varying Impact of Gas Prices (via the NYT), which looks at local Gas Prices, Median Income, and (surprise!) Percentage of Income spent on Gas :
click thru for interactive graphic

courtesy of NYT

It would be interesting to compare this chart with another overlay: How various counties voted in 2006, and how they end up voting in 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections.

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Mary commented on Jun 10

    You want data from this guy Robert J. Vanderbei (also embedded as follows). Review boundaries of the US “NRG corridor”; trend of price level is strongly correlated to regulatory controls at state level. (I’ve not crunched the numbers: qualitative analysis) I suspect, repeal of PUHCA in 2005 has exacerbated interstate arbitrage opportunities by refining operater –many of these domestics are oil major subsidaries not located in the corridor but border states. Note also voting history of reps in the “corridor” tends to disabuse renewable energy investment by IOUs or the feds in R&D.

  2. Jonathan commented on Jun 10

    Does this chart take into account lower gas expenditures from increased public transit? I see that Boston, New York City, Chicago, etc. have lower percentages listed and all have well-established public transportation systems.

  3. Paul commented on Jun 10

    Jonathan is on to something. An even more interesting overlay would be availablity of public transportation. I recall a study somewhere, sometime (sorry about that) that claimed a connection between public transport and satisfaction with an area’s overall transportation infrastructure. The connection was the more public trans available, the higher the satisfaction. It seems the ability of individuals to substitute the car for the bus or train is a good thing, and not just for the elasticity of demand for gas.

  4. Mr. Obvious commented on Jun 10

    Have to agree with Jonathan as well. Look at the dark grey…NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, Denver, SanFran. All have excellent public transportation (relatively speaking).

  5. Paul Griffith commented on Jun 10

    HIGH GAS PRICES reduce consumption and encourage alternatives. GET HAPPY thinking about a new source of energy that will make us all prosper.

  6. daveNYC commented on Jun 10

    Denver has good public transportation? I had not heard.

    I would mention that Portland, OR isn’t in the dark grey, so the % spent on gas might be more heavily influenced by the local income level. Without numbers I’m just making it up as I go along.

  7. Bob commented on Jun 10

    Now…that is an interesting chart.

  8. tim commented on Jun 10

    Ah … not so interesting chart. What i get from this is that people who get paid more use a lower percentage of their income on gas. Hardly a earth shattering revelation…

  9. Aaron commented on Jun 10

    This chart does not take into consideration cost of living… Although money spent on gas is lower as a percentage of income in higher income areas, I bet it is just the opposite in terms of disposable income.

  10. siv commented on Jun 10

    What the map shows is that the rural poor get screwed by higher gas prices. They should vote their pocket books for more areas for drilling and lower taxes. Too many of them,particularly the minorities, will vote for “the party of the working man”. Good luck with that light rail coming to the boonies.

  11. MeanMisterMustard commented on Jun 10

    Those very Republican areas spending the higher % of their income on gas have the cheapest gas in the country. Basically, what this map shows is that Republican dominated areas are relatively unproductive.

  12. Bob commented on Jun 10

    tim – duh, no kiding. It’s still interesting, though. Otherwise, blow it out your a**, dillweed.

  13. OkieLawyer commented on Jun 10

    Along the lines of what CB said, I have no doubt that this will have some effect on the November general election. The working classes will not be as easily distracted by “social issues” and perpetual fear/war when they have trouble feeding their families. Obama’s 50-state strategy just might have a chance in this environment.

  14. Steve Casburn commented on Jun 10

    Looks like the 1st District of Mississippi had a higher-than-average increase in gasoline prices…

  15. Renting in Mass commented on Jun 10

    I agree with Aaron. This chart would look much different if it was based on disposable income. I don’t think it would be reversed, but the differences would be less pronounced.

  16. Zephyr commented on Jun 11

    Gas is only one dimension of energy spending. Heating and air conditioning are big items as well. It would be interesting to plot a map of total energy spending.

  17. Jim commented on Jun 11

    Clearly, the areas that spend the most on gasoline tend to vote Republican.

    That is because when Republican presidents are in office—and our current one is the perfect example—gasoline prices tend to fall.

  18. james hubbard commented on Jun 11

    Gas prices? Here’s a different perspective. What was regular gas in 1964? I’d guess 35 cents a gallon. So it took 3 1/2 dimes to buy a gallon of gas. Today it takes 43 1/2 dimes. What’s the difference? It’s not the number of dimes, it’s the type of dimes. Dimes in 1963 were “silver dimes.” Remember that phrase? Now dimes are copper. At today’s prices, the silver content of a pre 1965 dime is $1.2181. So it takes only $4.359/$1.2181 or 3 6/10 “silver dimes” to buy a gallon of regular gas today. Gas han’t gone up. The dime (actually the value of our money) has gone waaaay down. Thank the Feds for that.

  19. Zephyr commented on Jun 11

    Gas prices were more like 25 cents in 1964. I believe the silver content of a silver quarter is sufficient to buy a gallon of gas today. So silver and gas have changed price at a comparable rate. If you use gold as your measure, then gas is cheaper today than it was in the 1960s. An ounce of gold will buy more gas today than it could in 1964.

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