Summer road trip guide: where’s the cheapest gas in America?

Come on, people, sing it with me: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” The summer road trip season is here – and that means photo ops at scenic viewpoints, snacks melting on sun-soaked dashboards, and nights in roadside campgrounds or fleabag memorable motels.

Unfortunately, this summer season also brings some nasty gas prices with it. So what’s the best region for an American road trip? I compared current prices state by state to find out.The Big Winner

The good news? The region with the cheapest gas is also one of the nation’s most scenic: the Rocky Mountains. Wyoming has the cheapest gas in the nation (hellooo, Yellowstone National Park) and its neighbors in Colorado, Idaho and Montana aren’t too far behind.

Coming in a close second is another area rich in road trip possibilities: the Deep South. Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina were all staying well under the $4-per-gallon mark at the time of writing; Georgia, North Carolina and Florida prices are a nudge higher, and costs continue to rise through the Virginias towards D.C.

Finally, the desert Southwest remains a good-value region: Utah comes in cheapest in the area, while Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada prices are only slightly higher.

…And the Wallet-Killers

Most of the rest of the country hovers around $4 per gallon, but there are a few standouts where prices rise substantially higher. It’s a predictable set of villains: Alaska, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.

Of course, prices will change over time and they also vary between urban and rural areas, but the general trends tend to hold. Here’s the full list of price ranges I found using

Alabama (Mobile): $3.68-3.89
Alaska (Fairbanks): $4.13-4.30
Arizona (Phoenix) $3.59-3.95
Arkansas (Little Rock) $3.49-3.89
California (Los Angeles): $4.08-4.69
Colorado (Denver) $3.55-3.89
Connecticut (Hartford): $4.07-4.35
Delaware (Wilmington): $3.89-4.16
Florida (Orlando): $3.60-3.99
Georgia (Atlanta): $3.74-4.29
Hawaii (Honolulu): $4.35-4.55
Idaho (Boise): $3.65-3.79
Illinois (Chicago): $4.23-4.79
Indiana (Indianapolis): $3.99-4.19
Iowa (Des Moines): $3.70-4.00
Kansas (Wichita): $3.72-3.79
Kentucky (Lexington): $3.85-4.09
Louisiana (New Orleans): $3.65-3.89
Maine: $3.85-4.21
Maryland (Baltimore): $3.84-4.29
Massachusetts: $3.85-4.19
Michigan (Detroit): $3.95-4.29
Minnesota (Twin Cities): $3.79-3.99
Mississippi (Jackson): $3.58-3.84
Missouri (St. Louis): $3.79-4.19
Montana (Billings): $3.61-3.64
Nebraska (Omaha): $3.89-4.09
Nevada (Las Vegas): $3.75-3.93
New Hampshire: $3.79-4.00
New Jersey (Trenton): $3.75-3.99
New Mexico (Santa Fe): $3.75-3.89
New York (New York City): $4.15-4.49
North Carolina (Charlotte): $3.79-3.99
North Dakota (Fargo): $3.79-3.89
Ohio (Cincinnati): $3.95-4.19
Oklahoma (Oklahoma City): $3.67-3.99
Oregon (Portland): $3.83-4.07
Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh): $3.95-4.09
Rhode Island (Providence): $3.95-4.15
South Carolina (Columbia): $3.64-3.89
South Dakota (Sioux Falls): $3.89-3.99
Tennessee (Memphis): $3.63-3.89
Texas (Dallas): $3.69-4.19
Utah (Salt Lake City): $3.59-3.79
Vermont: $3.85-3.99
Virginia (Richmond): $3.73-4.09
Washington (Tacoma): $3.91-4.15
West Virginia: $3.89-4.29
Wisconsin (Madison): $3.95-4.09
Wyoming: $3.36-3.76

[Flickr image via Wolfgang Staudt]