States To Fill Up In On Your Summer Road Trip…and States To Avoid

So, you’re taking a road trip this summer, and you’re about to leave your state.

Do you fill up the tank now, or do you wait to fill up after you cross the border into another state?

Fill up in Arizona, not California and then tour Canyon de Chelly National Monument. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Arizona, not California and then tour Canyon de Chelly National Monument. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Making the wrong decision could cost you nearly $10 a tank, depending on where you’re heading.

“Watch out for those state lines,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at fuel-station-finding app GasBuddy.

Gas prices averaged $2.86 per gallon on the Independence Day holiday notching their highest mark since 2014 but still remained sharply lower than their all-time high for the holiday, according to AAA. The national average price of gasoline is about 63 cents higher than a year ago.

Fill up in Texas, not New Mexico and then hike Enchanted Rock Natural Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Texas, not New Mexico and then hike Enchanted Rock Natural Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Prices have been stable over the last week but have fallen by 9 cents in the last month as the commodity eases off its typical spring peak.

Higher oil prices, caused largely by continued production limits at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), have nudged gas prices near the $3 mark this year.

The price spike since 2017’s Independence Day is likely to cost motorists about $1 billion in extra gas purchases over the usual four-day travel period, according to GasBuddy’s petroleum analysts.

Fill up in Louisiana, not Texas and then explore St. Martinville in Cajun Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Louisiana, not Texas and then explore St. Martinville in Cajun Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here’s some advice before you head out—all prices according to GasBuddy:

Fill up in Arizona, not California

The price disparity between these two states is extreme.

Arizona averaged $3.07 per gallon as of Thursday, while California averaged $3.72, according to GasBuddy.

At those prices, a 15-gallon fill-up is $9.75 more expensive in California.

Fill up in Texas, not New Mexico

If you’re road-tripping in the Southwest, price differences can be significant. This is another good example.

Fill up in Ohio, not Michigan and then explore Holmes County. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Ohio, not Michigan and then explore Holmes County. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The price of fuel in Texas, where oil refineries are clustered, averaged $2.67 on Thursday. In New Mexico, it was $2.89.

That means you’d save $3.30 in Texas on a 15-gallon tank.

Fill up in Louisiana, not Texas

But Texas is more expensive than Louisiana, which is also a hot spot for refineries.

Prices averaged $2.59 in Louisiana on Thursday, compared with $2.67 in Texas.

Generally, though, “anywhere in the South” is a good place to fill up, DeHaan said. “They’re right in oil’s backyard. Plus, low taxes.”

Fill up in Virginia, not West Virginia and then explore Urbana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Virginia, not West Virginia and then explore Urbana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Ohio, not Michigan

Ohio is more forgiving on the pocketbook than its rival to the north.

With prices averaging $2.85 on Tuesday, Ohio was notably lower than Michigan’s $2.94.

Fill up in Virginia, not West Virginia

Going white-river rafting in West Virginia? Sounds fun.

But fill up first in Virginia, where prices are 22 cents lower at $2.62.

Fill up in West Virginia, not Pennsylvania

West Virginia doesn’t look so bad when you see prices in Pennsylvania, which averaged $3.02 on Tuesday, compared with West Virginia’s $2.84.

Fill up in West Virginia, not Pennsylvania and then explore Babcock State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in West Virginia, not Pennsylvania and then explore Babcock State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Massachusetts, not Connecticut 

At $2.90, Massachusetts isn’t exactly an oasis of cheap gas.

But it’s still cheaper than neighboring Connecticut at $3.10.

Fill up in Alabama, not Georgia

Georgia is 14 cents higher: $2.67 compared with $2.53.

Come to think of it, fill up in Alabama no matter where you’re heading. It’s the cheapest gas state in the country, according to GasBuddy.

Fill up in Alabama, not Georgia and then enjoy delicious barbecue. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill up in Alabama, not Georgia and then enjoy delicious barbecue. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

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