Key findings:

  • Wyoming, North Dakota and Mississippi are the most gas-guzzling states.
  • Hawaii, Rhode Island and New York are the least gas-guzzling states.
  • Americans consumed 187 billion gallons of gas in 2017.
  • A 31% decrease in gas prices from 2013 to 2017 led to nearly a 2% increase in gas consumption in 2017.
  • States with low population density have the highest rate of gas consumption per driver.

Driving culture in America displays diversity around the country. We see these trends in our analysis of which states consume the most gas. States that we found to be the most gas guzzling were drastically different geographically than the lesser gas-consuming states. States that consume the most gasoline per driver like Wyoming, North Dakota and New Mexico are among the states with the lowest population density in the country. Drivers in low population density states naturally have to travel further to get from point A to point B.

On the other side of the spectrum, states with low gas consumption like Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut are among the states with the highest population density. Similarly, drivers have to travel less to get from point A to point B. Depending on where you live, your location likely plays a significant role in how often you have to drive and how far. In Wyoming, you need to drive further. In Rhode Island, your trips are shorter. There are a handful of states that would fit a more gas-guzzling profile: Georgia and Indiana are each among the top 18 most gas-guzzling states and are among the more densely populated states,but residents don't have the need to drive as far as they do in other states.

Overall, gas consumption has increased by nearly 2% from 2013 to 2017. A small increase given the 31% decrease in gas prices in the same time period. One would expect to see a larger increase than 2% in an improving economy and cheaper gas prices. The reason could be with millennials' reluctance to drive. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates drivers between the age of 20 and 34 drive 22% less since 2001. Similar figures reflect trends among the same age group and auto registration rates. A QuoteWizard study also found millennials are spending less on cars than their elder generations. Urbanization trends show millennials are flocking to big cities. In those urban cities, there's less of a need to drive due to most transportation options like public transit and ridesharing services like Uber.

Methodology

QuoteWizard analyzed Federal Highway Administration to compare motor-fuel use with licensed drivers in each state from 2013 to 2017. We took the total gallons of gas used in each state and divided that figure by the total number of licenced drivers in each state. Final rankings are based on total gallons of gas per licensed driver in each state in the year 2017. States with the highest gallons per driver are considered to be the most gas-guzzling states.

Rank State 2017 Gallons per driver 2013 Gallons per driver % Change in Gallons per driver
1 Wyoming 1,619 1,740 -6.95%
2 North Dakota 1,344 1,644 -18.23%
3 Mississippi 1,177 1,098 7.22%
4 Texas 1,172 1,127 3.94%
5 Oklahoma 1,164 1,134 2.71%
6 South Dakota 1,149 1,096 4.91%
7 New Mexico 1,091 994 9.75%
8 West Virginia 1,055 914 15.34%
9 Minnesota 1,033 955 8.18%
10 Iowa 1,025 1,077 -4.77%
11 Montana 1,018 1,012 0.61%
12 Kentucky 1,012 949 6.63%
13 Missouri 1,002 936 6.96%
14 South Carolina 986 971 1.52%
15 Nebraska 983 933 5.38%
16 Indiana 980 944 3.76%
17 Idaho 941 870 8.22%
18 Georgia 937 920 1.92%
19 Alabama 922 857 7.52%
20 Arkansas 910 951 -4.37%
21 Virginia 875 875 -0.03%
22 Maine 874 928 -5.79%
23 Kansas 865 879 -1.55%
24 Utah 864 941 -8.28%
25 Ohio 851 802 6.18%
26 Louisiana 850 903 -5.88%
27 Tennessee 832 874 -4.79%
28 Nevada 832 805 3.27%
29 Wisconsin 811 761 6.59%
30 Michigan 803 786 2.17%
31 North Carolina 799 776 3.02%
32 Alaska 792 779 1.72%
33 New Jersey 772 782 -1.33%
34 Oregon 764 720 6.13%
35 Illinois 761 741 2.83%
36 Maryland 755 795 -4.96%
37 Delaware 755 680 10.94%
38 New Hampshire 751 750 0.14%
39 Arizona 739 702 5.23%
40 Pennsylvania 734 735 -0.15%
41 Colorado 729 706 3.30%
42 Florida 724 707 2.45%
43 California 705 714 -1.21%
44 Connecticut 691 674 2.61%
45 Vermont 688 694 -0.89%
46 Massachusetts 656 681 -3.67%
47 Washington 617 636 -2.95%
48 New York 603 598 0.92%
49 Rhode Island 584 563 3.69%
50 Hawaii 552 547 0.90%