Oregon Better Positioned for Rising Gas Prices

The Oregonian covers a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council that puts Oregon 35th on the list of states most impacted by gas prices.

According to the report, the average Oregon resident spent 4.8 percent of his or her income on gasoline in 2007. That was one of the lowest in the nation, placing Oregon at No. 35 on a list where 50th is best. By contrast, residents in the worst state, Mississippi, spent 7.8 percent of their income on gasoline.

“As was the case last year, the hardest-hit states are in the South,” the report said, noting that “as oil prices go up, citizens in the vulnerable states feel the pinch more.”

I don’t see any mention in the report of the difference between urban and rural Oregon, which I would think must be immense.

0 responses to “Oregon Better Positioned for Rising Gas Prices”

  1. Unless I miscounted, it looks like while we are only 35th for percentage of income, we are 47th for the actual amount of money spent on gas. I don’t know if this means much, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

  2. The difference between Rural and Urban exists in most of the states (except maybe New Jersey and Rhode Island).

    Rural areas tend to have lower average incomes and farther distances to drive with few or no alternatives.

    That doesn’t change much from state to state.

  3. Certainly, but if the O is going to point out that we’re not feeling as much pain, it would seem incumbent that they might focus a little on those Oregonians who nonetheless will be feeling a LOT of pain.

  4. In most states, the “rural” parts are similar in density to the Willamette Valley–towns abound, services are reasonably dispersed, and one doesn’t have to drive very far to reach a city or town of significant size (several thousand people).

    Only a handful of states have conditions like are found in Eastern Oregon–where you literally have people who are miles from the nearest neighbor; and in many cases tens of miles from the nearest grocery store or gas pump. Many of the people living in such isolated conditions are ranchers or farmers, and have infrastructure at their homestead to make the distance manageable.

    If you live out in Jordan Valley, $4 gas has to hurt. A lot.

  5. Furthermore, Oregon is the 9th or 10th biggest state, I believe? So the conditions of Eastern Oregon are not only extreme, but it extends for much of the state.

    Also worth pointing out: This is a percentage of income. No wonder Mississippi spends the most of their income on gasoline; they don’t have a whole lot of income to begin with. The Portland metro is a relatively wealthy area, so our wealth coupled with our transit options probably puts our percentage of income spent on gasoline very, very low.

  6. These news media proclamations are pretty much meaningless.

    Attempts to generalize people are generally meaningless period.

    It depends on who you are, no matter where you are.

  7. AL M Says:

    Attempts to generalize people are generally meaningless period.

    But are generalizations like that pretty meaningless?

  8. There are only two kinds of people — those who make broad, sweeping generalizations, and those who don’t.

  9. There’s only two kinds of people.

    Those who can count, those who can’t, and the rest.


  10. Some data would be of use. How many folks in Wasco county, for example, live in The Dalles or Dufur versus out on the ranch? Eastern Oregon towns have UGBs too.
    For ranchers the cost of fuel is felt more on machinery operation than the cost of a trip to town despite the increase in wheat prices. Maybe some will start growing canola and process their own fuel.
    Industrial agriculture as we now practice it may not be sustainable.

  11. 1-those who make broad, sweeping generalizations
    2-those who don’t make broad, sweeping generalizations
    3-those who can count
    5-those who cant count
    5-Bob R

    That makes five types of people…


  12. Come on, Al. You drive a bus, you got the inside track on the comfy office gig.

    All you gotta do is learn to appreciate the sweet music of steel wheels grating on steel rails, especially as they round the bend near the Sunset TC.

    Trains are great. You don’t have to steer ’em, and if you run someone over, it’s almost always their fault.

    And as they say in the UK… mind the gap.

  13. There was a time, when I lived in Goose Hollow, when my monthly Tri-Met pass represented more than 10% of my “disposable” income. I considered it part of the cost of living, right along with rent.

    I’ll take a guess that people in rural areas pay significantly less for housing than those of us in the inner-city. It’s a trade off. For me, being able to walk to places was “worth” the extra cost of living in the city rather than in the suburbs near my place of worth. Other people like the privacy and autonomy of having their own car in the country. Again, part of the trade off.

  14. Those who live around Killingsworth and MLK Jr. Blvd probably pay a higher percentage of their income than those living in the Westhills. i.e. Fred Stickel of the “Big OH!”, or wherever ‘ol Fred lives.

  15. As a native of eastern Oregon, now living in Eugene …. and having lived in several states and cities; I must say that EngineerScotty hit the nail on the head. Alternate transport is virtually non-existent, even in Bend, let alone the rest of the land east of the Cascades. Distances are great and those living there have little choice but to pay up or stay home.

    Funny thing; I had this same discussion with a bright young lawyer from the east coast, Marc Abrams, back in 1981 while I was an undergraduate at the U of O. It really is hard to describe the issues of living in the wide open spaces in a way that is clear to those who have never experienced it. There are many benefits to higher living density, and transportation alternatives are near the top of that list. During the gas crunch in the mid-70s the lines were longer in rural Oregon, more business suffered (even ski resorts had to package tickets with reserved gas to bring people over the Cascades). It is no mistake that when we moved back to Eugene a couple of years ago, we made sure that a bus line was nearby. There is little doubt that this latest energy ‘crisis’ will further encourage urbanization, which is a good thing.

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