Fourteen states border the Atlantic Ocean. Among them are five of the 11 least expensive states to buy gas in all of America.
Home to all 13 of the original colonies, the East Coast states now host more than 112 million people — more than one-third of the U.S. population. Many of those people are crammed into crowded and congested metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Miami.
Despite all of the traffic, it’s currently a good place to own a car.
The story of the fuel inflation crisis of 2022 played out much differently on opposite sides of the Mason-Dixon line. When the national average gas price peaked above $5 in June, East Coast states in the North were pulling the average up while their neighbors to the south dragged it down.
That dynamic is still intact, but now the entire Eastern Seaboard has a comparatively easy go of it at the pump.
The East Coast Is a Good Place for Filling Up
Every single state on the East Coast can now boast average gas prices below the national average of $3.81. Just three — Maine, New York and Maryland — are above $3.50.
Prices were lower in the South throughout the fuel inflation crisis that dominated the first half of 2022, including the Southern states that border the Atlantic. Today, the Southern East Coast states are still among the cheapest to buy gas in all of America. Several are threatening to break the $3 mark and become the first states with a price per gallon that’s back down in the twos.
But even way up the East Coast to states such as Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — which peaked over $5 in the bad old days of the early summer — the national average seems high.
As Always, Gas Is Cheapest in the Southeast
As of Oct. 4, Georgia had the cheapest gas on the East Coast — $3.17 per gallon, compared to a national average of $3.81. In all of America, only Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana are cheaper.
One year ago, Georgians were enjoying an average price of $2.99 per gallon, and the state was the only one on the entire coast to peak below $4.50 when prices were highest this summer — as long as you don’t round up. The rising price of gas in the Peach State topped out at $4.499 on June 15.
Florida isn’t far behind at $3.18 — it’s $3.26 and $3.30 in South Carolina and North Carolina. None of those states ever reached an average of $5 a gallon, even at the June-July peak.
A Tale of Two Coasts: Northeast’s Gas Price Roller Coaster
The Northeast was the great comeback story of the 2022 fuel-inflation crisis. Prices were always highest in the West — and they still are today, by far. The entire Pacific Coast and a half-dozen Western states in total are still over $5 per gallon — California is around $6.40.
The Northeast spent much of the summer not far behind the West as the home of America’s No. 2 most expensive region to stop for gas. But starting in August, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware and New York all became familiar names on AAA’s recurring list of the 10 states where prices dropped the most each week.
That trend continued through the fall, and today every single coastal state in the Northeast is below the national average — including former $5 hotspots Maine, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Some are even giving the South a run for its money. At $3.28 per gallon, gas in Connecticut is cheaper than in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and even North Carolina.
Incredibly, gas is cheaper today than it was one month ago in every single one of the 14 East Coast states. No other region can say its gas prices are moving in the right direction in such a unanimous fashion.
And it’s spreading west.
The whole of New England is now under the national average, including landlocked Vermont. Inland to Pennsylvania and even as far west as Ohio, where prices are higher, the cost per gallon is still below the average for the country. Only when you get as far inland as the Midwestern Great Lakes states of Indiana and Michigan does the country’s average price start to feel forgiving.
That region is still a hotspot where prices consistently top $4.
Back on the East Coast, however, motorists collectively have it better than anywhere in America except for the South — and seven of the 16 Southern states are part of the East Coast family.
More From GOBankingRates