Best and Worst States for Gasoline Prices, Wyoming Best, Alaska Worst

AAA publishes retail gasoline prices everyday.

The Best State for Gas Prices is Wyoming for Feb 21 with a price of $1.72 for regular gasoline. The other Top 5 Best States are Missouri, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Alaska is the Worst State with a state price of $2.54.  Rounding out the 5 Worst States for Gas Prices are Hawaii, California, Nevada and Washington.

According to the Tax Foundation, Wyoming’s tax on a gallon of gas is $.14 and Alaska currently has suspended its tax until August of 2009.  California taxes every gallon of gas $.353. Its residents would enjoy much lower prices if they were not being taxed so highly.

There are many factors that influence each states price.  It is not just the price of a barrel of oil.

  1. Wyoming     $1.72
  2. Missouri     $1.73
  3. Utah     $1.73
  4. Oklahoma     $1.74
  5. South Carolina     $1.77
  6. Arkansas     $1.78
  7. New Jersey     $1.78
  8. Texas     $1.79
  9. Tennessee     $1.79
  10. Mississippi     $1.80
  11. Georgia     $1.80
  12. Alabama     $1.82
  13. Kansas     $1.83
  14. Iowa     $1.83
  15. Louisiana     $1.83
  16. Idaho     $1.83
  17. Indiana     $1.83
  18. Virginia     $1.84
  19. Colorado     $1.84
  20. Kentucky     $1.84
  21. Ohio     $1.85
  22. Delaware     $1.87
  23. Nebraska     $1.88
  24. North Carolina     $1.89
  25. Michigan     $1.89
  26. New Hampshire     $1.89
  27. Maryland     $1.90
  28. Minnesota     $1.90
  29. Massachusetts     $1.90
  30. South Dakota     $1.91
  31. Montana     $1.92
  32. Illinois     $1.95
  33. North Dakota     $1.96
  34. Vermont     $1.96
  35. Wisconsin     $1.97
  36. Florida     $1.98
  37. Rhode Island     $1.98
  38. District of Columbia     $1.99
  39. Pennsylvania     $2.00
  40. New Mexico     $2.00
  41. Maine     $2.01
  42. West Virginia     $2.02
  43. Connecticut     $2.03
  44. Arizona     $2.04
  45. New York     $2.10
  46. Oregon     $2.11
  47. Washington     $2.20
  48. Nevada     $2.21
  49. California     $2.29
  50. Hawaii     $2.43
  51. Alaska     $2.54

Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates, Georgia Best, Illinois Worst

Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates

Zillow Interest Rate Monitor released yesterday the Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates.

Georgia is the Best State for Mortgage Rates in the nation with a 5.14% for an average fixed rate 30 year mortgage.  Washington is the 2nd Best State for Mortgage Rates with a 5.15% rate.  The U.S. average rate is 5.23%.

Illinois is the Worst State for Mortgage Rates in the nation with its rate of 5.36% and Missouri is rated the 2nd Worst State in the nation at 5.35%.  Zillow reports mortgage rates weekly and is a valuable source of additional info on the real estate market.

The state you live can have a significant impact on your mortgage rates as lenders take local market history into consideration when making loans.  States with high foreclosure rates and price volatility cause more challenges for lenders when establishing mortgage pricing.

                        Average 30-yr.        Average 30-yr.
                         Fixed Rate            Fixed Rate
    State           Week ending 2/15/09    Week ending 2/08/09       % Change
    Arizona                 5.24%                  5.39%              -2.7%
    California              5.20%                  5.48%              -5.1%
    Colorado                5.28%                  5.46%              -3.2%
    Connecticut             5.20%                  5.37%              -3.1%
    Florida                 5.19%                  5.36%              -3.2%
    Georgia                 5.14%                  5.32%              -3.2%
    Illinois                5.36%                  5.50%              -2.6%
    Maryland                5.33%                  5.43%              -1.8%
    Massachusetts           5.31%                  5.54%              -4.2%
    Michigan                5.27%                  5.46%              -3.4%
    Missouri                5.35%                  5.51%              -2.8%
    New Jersey              5.21%                  5.42%              -4.0%
    New York                5.31%                  5.60%              -5.1%
    North Carolina          5.26%                  5.40%              -2.7%
    Oregon                  5.16%                  5.37%              -3.8%
    Pennsylvania            5.18%                  5.34%              -3.0%
    Tennessee               5.33%                  5.50%              -3.1%
    Texas                   5.27%                  5.43%              -2.9%
    Virginia                5.21%                  5.38%              -3.1%
    Washington              5.15%                  5.37%              -4.0%
Source: Zillow.com

Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending. Who is the Best and Worst?

Does increased spending on Education lead to higher performance?

*******Go to 2009 State SAT Scores List  for the latest SAT results.*********

This question was raised in prior posts.

I thought you might find these 2 charts interesting.  Best and Worst States For Education Spending ranks all states by spending and shows the SAT Score Rank of its students. I also have attached a Chart from  Heritage that shows that the best funded cities do not have the highest graduation rates.

The more money spent clearly does not show up in higher SAT scores or graduation rates. 

New Jersey spends the most money.  Its SAT score rank is 33 .  New York, at 2nd on the money spend, ranks 44th on SAT scores.  The “Worst” State for Education Spending is Utah yet its students rank 20th on the SAT score list above NY and New Jersey. Utah spends about 1/3 the dollars of NY and New Jersey.  Its students do better than all of the Top 10 spenders on Education.  Utah may be considered a Best State for Education considering its bang for the dollar.

Arizona
is the next lowest spend state yet ranks 29th on the SAT Scores list.  Arizona students perform better than the top 6 spenders.  Mesa, AZ which is at the bottom of the Heritage list of city spends has a graduation rate of 77.1%.  Mesa spends only 40% of Boston which has a much lower graduation rate of 57%.

Clearly money is not the only factor that impacts educational performance.  You may want to consider carefully your state’s approach to education.  It appears more dollars on education does not lead to better results.  Tell your political leaders you want accountability for results not just money spent.

State Ed Spend SAT Rank
1 New Jersey 15,033 36
2 New York 14,593 44
3 DC 14,214 50
4 Connecticut 13,059 31
5 Vermont 12,749 30
6 Rhode Island 12,425 41
7 Massachusetts 12,398 29
8 Delaware 11,619 43
9 Alaska 11,551 33
10 Maine 11,014 51
11 Pennsylvania 10,900 45
12 Wyoming 10,852 16
13 Maryland 10,682 37
14 New Hampshire 10,405 26
15 Wisconsin 10,388 6
16 Michigan 9,947 13
17 Ohio 9,936 23
18 West Virginia 9,609 32
19 Hawaii 9,581 48
20 Indiana 9,498 38
21 Illinois 9,473 2
22 Virginia 9,463 34
23 Nebraska 9,365 9
24 Minnesota 9,284 3
25 Montana 8,661 22
26 Oregon 8,595 27
27 Georgia 8,589 46
28 Iowa 8,479 1
29 Kansas 8,440 7
30 California 8,418 35
31 Missouri 8,368 4
32 New Mexico 8,342 21
33 North Dakota 8,337 7
34 Colorado 8,334 18
35 Washington 8,218 25
36 Louisiana 8,167 14
37 Arkansas 8,156 11
38 South Carolina 8,039 49
39 South Dakota 7,949 5
40 Texas 7,716 42
41 Florida 7,683 47
42 Kentucky 7,595 15
43 Alabama 7,532 19
44 North Carolina 7,352 41
45 Tennessee 7,295 10
46 Nevada 7,246 41
47 Oklahoma 7,039 12
48 Mississippi 6,973 17
49 Idaho 6,729 24
50 Arizona 6,586 29
51 Utah 5,555 20


Sources:  Dept of Education.  Spending not regionally adjusted.  College Board.

http://www.heritage.org/research/Education/images/b2179_chart5.gif
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Smoking by State, Utah has least Smokers, Kentucky Most

Smoking by State, Utah has least Smokers, Kentucky Most

Editors Note: For the 2009 List of Smokers by State and the latest map go to Smoking States 2009, Tobacco Producing States and State Smoking Map

Why do people smoke more in one state versus another?  Does the number of smokers in a state affect lifestyle?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes great statistics on many aspects of health.  The smoking list is compliled by them and was completed in 2007.

Utah is the Best State for Non Smokers with only 11.7% of its population using cigarettes.  Kentucky is the Worst State with 28.3% of its population smoking.  California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota round out the top 5 Best StatesWest Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee are the next Worst States following Kentucky for Non Smokers.

It is well known that smoking increases health care costs. You may want to live in a state with low smoking rates.  Then again if you are a smoker this list will help you find lots of company to light up with.

Best and Worst States for Non Smokers (% of cigarette smokers)
Utah 11.7

2 California 14.3

3 Connecticut 15.5

4 Massachuset 16.4

5 Minnesota 16.5

6 Washington  16.8

7 Oregon 16.9

8 Hawaii 17

9 Rhode Islan 17

10 Maryland 17.1

11 New Jersey 17.2

12 District of Co 17.3

13 Vermont 17.6

14 Kansas 17.9

15 Virginia 18.6

16 Colorado 18.7

17 New York 18.9

18 Delaware 19

19 Idaho 19.2

20 Florida 19.3

21 Georgia 19.3

22 New Hamps 19.4

23 Texas 19.4

24 Montana 19.5

25 Wisconsin 19.6

26 Arizona 19.8

27 Iowa 19.8

28 South Dakot 19.8

29 Nebraska 19.9

30 Maine 20.1

31 Illinois 20.2

32 New Mexico 20.8

33 Pennsylvani 20.9

34 North Dakot 21

35 Michigan 21.2

36 Nevada 21.5

37 South Caroli 21.9

38 Wyoming 22.1

39 Alaska 22.2

40 Arkansas 22.4

41 Alabama 22.5

42 Louisiana 22.6

43 North Caroli 22.9

44 Ohio 23.1

45 Mississippi 24

46 Indiana 24.1

47 Tennessee 24.3

48 Missouri 24.6

49 Oklahoma 25.8

50 West Virgini 27

51 Kentucky 28.3

Source:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Best and Worst States for Beer Drinkers, Beer Taxes on the Rise

New York State Governor Paterson recently issued the NY State Executive Briefing Book 2009-2010

Among the myriad of over 100 state tax increases, the Governor proposes a more than doubling of the states’ tax on beer from  $.11 per gallon to $.24 per gallon.  California Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed an increase of $.05 on all alcohol related drinks.  Jerry Hirsch of the LA Times last week wrote Is his the end of Two Buck Chuck?

The Best and Worst States for Beer Drinkers 2008 is listed below.  The work is done by the  The Tax Foundation.

Best States for Beer Drinkers  (Lowest Tax)

1.  Wyoming           $.02
2.  Missouri             $.06
2.  Wisconsin          $.06
4.  Colorado            $.08
4.  Oregon               $.08
4.  Pennsylvania     $.08

Worst State for Beer Drinkers  (Highest Tax)

50.  Alaska              $1.07
49.  Georgia            $1.01
48.  Hawaii               $.93
47.  South Carolina  $.84
46.  Alabama            $.71

Dollars per gallon of beer

For a listing of all states go to:  Tax Foundation Beer Excise Tax Map 2008

With so many states having financial problems and looking to increase taxes, it is certain many states will follow California and New York with higher taxes on beer and other alcohol related products.  If beer drinking is a passion, watch the trends in your state and stock up before the new taxes go into effect.  The Best and Worst States map will clearly change in 2009.  We will keep you posted.
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State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State of the Union

Michigan Surges to 10.6%.  Wyoming has lowest unemployment in nation at 3.4%.  Rhode Island  is the only other state with over 10.0%. California at 9.3% leaves millions of Californians unemployed. 

Texas was the only state that recorded a statistically significant year on year increase in the number of people working.  Employment increased by 153,000.   The largest statistically significant month over month decreases in employment were experienced in California (-78,000), Michigan (-59,000), New York (-54,000) and Illinois (-36,000).  Losing states show up in a number of areas for being unattractive to business.  See some of our other posts for info on state tax burdens, unionionization rates and attractiveness for business.

If you are looking for a job, the low unemployment states may provide work but you must be careful to understand the kind of industries and work that is available for your skill sets.  Most states have differing industries and worker needs.  Unemployment for December 2008  is listed below for all 50 states and District of Columbia.  The national unemployment rate is now at 7.2%

     Rank       State                                                                                                                                                                  

1 WYOMING 3.4
2 NORTH DAKOTA 3.5
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 3.9
4 NEBRASKA 4.0
5 UTAH 4.3
6 IOWA 4.6
6 NEW HAMPSHIRE 4.6
8 NEW MEXICO 4.9
8 OKLAHOMA 4.9
8 WEST VIRGINIA 4.9
11 KANSAS 5.2
12 MONTANA 5.4
12 VIRGINIA 5.4
14 HAWAII 5.5
15 MARYLAND 5.8
16 LOUISIANA 5.9
17 TEXAS 6.0
18 COLORADO 6.1
19 ARKANSAS 6.2
19 DELAWARE 6.2
19 WISCONSIN 6.2
22 IDAHO 6.4
22 VERMONT 6.4
24 ALABAMA 6.7
24 PENNSYLVANIA 6.7
26 ARIZONA 6.9
26 MASSACHUSETTS 6.9
26 MINNESOTA 6.9
29 MAINE 7.0
29 NEW YORK 7.0
31 CONNECTICUT 7.1
31 NEW JERSEY 7.1
31 WASHINGTON 7.1
34 MISSOURI 7.3
35 ALASKA 7.5
36 ILLINOIS 7.6
37 KENTUCKY 7.8
37 OHIO 7.8
39 TENNESSEE 7.9
40 MISSISSIPPI 8.0
41 FLORIDA 8.1
41 GEORGIA 8.1
43 INDIANA 8.2
44 NORTH CAROLINA 8.7
45 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 8.8
46 OREGON 9.0
47 NEVADA 9.1
48 CALIFORNIA 9.3
49 SOUTH CAROLINA 9.5
50 RHODE ISLAND 10.0
51 MICHIGAN 10.6

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best and Worst Electricity Rates by State

Your electric bill is typically more than your gasoline bills. It can be even higher depending on the state you live.
The Energy Information Administration releases official energy statistics from the U.S. government.  Their site is www.eia.doe.gov.

Best States for Electricity (lowest rates)

1.  Idaho               7.3
2.  West Virginia    7.41
3.  Kentucky          7.82
3.  Washington      7.82
5.  Missouri           8.34

Worst States for Electricity  (highest rates)

50.  Hawaii            36.94
49.  Connecticut     20.24
48.  New York        19.42
47.  Rhode Island   18.13
46.  Massachusetts 17.85

Rates (cents per kilowatthour) were published in mid December 2008 and are residential rates for the month of September 2008.

The U.S. average is 11.94 up 9.1% from the previous year.

The Northeast has the highest rates.   If you are on a fixed income living, picking the best state to retire in can save a bundle.

Best and Worst States to Work

Depending on the state you live, you may have more difficulty working in your desired occupation.  Licensing rules make it harder for people to work as in many cases you must spend money for licensing before knowing if you have work.  It limits supply of workers by making it harder for workers to get a job.  Reason Magazine’s study of Occupational licensing highlights states’ occupational licensing requirements.  They even list the “Most Outrageous Licensing Laws.”  Can you imagine that you must have license to be a florist in Louisiana?  No other state does that!  Can you imagine that you must have a license to be a junkyard dealer in Ohio?  No other state has that requirement.  If you travel into Vermont as a photographer you must have a license.  Yet if you live in Vermont you are qualified.  And in Iowa you must have a license to be a munure applicator.  I wonder if there is a special course you can take online to qualify for that!!!!  Licensing requirements hurt workers.  The Best and Worst States follow.  Go to www.reason.org/news/occupational_licensing_rankings_082407.shtml for the full report.

Worst States to Work                         # Job Licenses

1.  California                                                             177
2.  Connecticut                                                         155
3.  Maine                                                                 134
4.  New Hampshire                                                   130
5.  Arkansas                                                             128

Best States to Work

1.  Missouri                                                              41
2.  Washington                                                         43
3.  Kansas                                                               56
4.  South Carolina                                                    60
5.  Idaho                                                                 61