These states are the biggest gas guzzlers. How did Pa. do? | Monday Morning Coffee

March 9, 2020 7:06 am

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With its bumpy roads and creaky bridges, Pennsylvania is hardly anyone’s idea of a motorists’ paradise. And with mass transit that’s wildly uneven from one part of the commonwealth to another, Keystone State residents are a long way from shedding their dependence on their cars.

But if there’s an upside to all the traffic and CO2 emissions, it’s that Pennsylvanians aren’t the worst gas-guzzlers in the nation, according to a new study by the financial literacy site QuoteWizard.

In fact, gas consumption in Pennsylvania declined by 0.15 percent per-driver for the five years between 2013 and 2017, the study found. That was the 16th biggest decrease nationwide, researchers found.

The report found that a 31 percent decrease in gas prices from 2013 to 2017 led to nearly a 2 percent increase in gas consumption in 2017. But in Pennsylvania, former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett signed a multi-billion-dollar transportation funding package in Nov. 2013, ushering a massive gas tax increase for Pennsylvania drivers.

The QuoteWizard report is silent on that nexus, but it’s a safe guess that the tax hike, combined with other metrics the study did measure (lower driving rates among millennials, for one) could have something to do with that decrease.

(Image via

For those of you keeping score at home, below are the top states with the highest — and lowest — rates of gas consumption. As a rule, the states with the lowest population density had the highest rate of gas consumption per driver, researchers found. Thus …

The Top 5 Biggest Gas-Guzzling States:
1. Wyoming
2. North Dakota
3. Mississippi
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma

The Top 5 Least Gas-Guzzling States:
1. Hawaii
2. Rhode Island
3. New York
4. Washington
5.  Massachusetts

New York, Washington and Massachusetts all have robust public transit systems. So it doesn’t take an urban planner to figure out what’s going on there. We’ll be thinking of this study the next time we’re stuck in traffic on one of Harrisburg’s bridges and ranting about the lamentable lack of light rail in the Commonwealth’s seat of government.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Progressive House and Senate candidates from across central Pennsylvania gathered in suburban Harrisburg on Sunday afternoon to make their pitches ahead of the April 28 primary. The event was sponsored by Capital Region Stands Up.

Speaking of which. … On the other side of Pennsylvania, Stephen Caruso was in Philadelphia, where he attended this weekend’s statewide gathering of Pennsylvania Stands Up. There he found activists talking about winning elections in the state’s red middle.

So. Much. Standing!

From the weekend: Here’s our explanation of why we’re no longer using a polarizing phrase to describe an effort to fight the opioid epidemic. Instead, you’ll find these places described as ‘Overdose Prevention Sites’ in our coverage from now on.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: A new book celebrates the achievements of Philadelphia’s Black women leaders.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Dick Polman has a few thoughts about an ascendant Joe Biden. And Colin McNickle, of the Allegheny Institute, wonders whether the taxpayers got a deal by subsidizing foreign travel at Pittsburgh Airport.

(Josh Locatis/Flickr)

The Inquirer
 dives into the growing ‘gun sanctuary’ movement that’s taking root in some Pennsylvania municipalities.
If you’re speeding in a Pa. highway work zone – slow down. Automated photo ticketing starts today, the Post-Gazette reports.
One thing’s for sure — whoever wins the 2020 derby will be the oldest president in American historyPennLive reports.
There are now four coronavirus cases in Montgomery County, the Morning Call reports, bringing the statewide total to six.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

There are also six coronavirus cases in New Jersey, WHYY-FM reports.
The PA Post looks at how first responders are trying to stay ahead of the outbreak.
PoliticsPA looks at last week’s winners and losers in state politics. looks at the powers that state governments have to contend with coronavirus.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., say they’re staying home after interacting with a person who tested positive for coronavirus, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda; 
Rally against taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels
11 a.m.: Lg’s Porch: Rally for fossil fuels — because nature abhors a vacuum.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning go out to Kevin Schreiber of the York County Economic Alliance, who celebrated on Sunday.  Congratulations go out this morning to Michelle Merlin of the Morning Call of Allentown, and longtime Friend O’The BlogChristina Zarek, who both celebrate another trip around the sun. Congratulations and enjoy the day, all.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s some amazing new music from Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro. It’s ‘Instant History.’

Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
handily dispatched Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Canes skated past the Pens 6-2.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.