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NEW YORK -- Americans are too dependent on foreign oil, and states aren't doing enough to change that, according to a study by an environmental group ranking states' vulnerability to gasoline price hikes.
The annual index, by the National Resources Defense Council, measures the effect of oil and gas price increases on people's incomes. The study ranks states based on an income-to-gas-price ratio or how much the average family spends on gasoline as part of their annual income.
NRDC's "Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States Oil Vulnerability and Solutions For Change" study found Mississippi tops the list as the most vulnerable state when it comes to gas price increases, according to a report by CNN.
"This is very relevant right now. We've seen, in spite of the economy being down, prices rebounding because of the summer driving season," according to Deron Lovaas, the council's transportation policy director.
Mississippi residents spent 9.14 percent, or on average $2,702, of their income on gas last year, according to the study. Montana ranked second on the survey. South Carolina was third, followed by Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico and Georgia. Rounding out the Top 10 was Arkansas, CNN reported.
Residents in Connecticut ranked at the bottom of the list as the least likely to be affected by spiking gas prices, spending only 3.24 percent of their income, or on average $1,824.58, on fuel last year.
The study measured other factors too, such as how much driving a person does and how much gas is consumed. Montana, ranked second-most vulnerable, is a rural state where residents drive farther to get to places such as work and school, for example.
The "Fighting Oil Addiction" study also ranked states that are doing the most to promote clean energy technologies and reducing dependence on oil. California topped the list, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, New Mexico, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Florida rounded out the Top 10.
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