Research shows high gas prices hurt rural Minnesotans more
SAINT PETER, Minn. -- High gas prices hurt rural Minnesotans more than their urban counterparts, according to research conducted for the Center for Rural Policy and Development.
The research found that rural Minnesota families spend an average of 20 percent more on gasoline than Twin Cities families, regardless of the cost of gas. Rural families also spend nearly twice the percentage of their household budgets on gas compared to urban households (5.8 percent versus 3.2 percent at $2.50 a gallon).
"All Minnesotans feel the bite when gas prices rise," said Brad Finstad, executive director of the Center for Rural Policy and Development. "But the pain of the bite is much greater in rural Minnesota, where people earn lower household incomes than Minnesotans living in the Twin Cities and usually have to travel greater distances to work and shop."
The research found that, for those Minnesotans who have to drive longer distances, drive heavier vehicles with lower fuel efficiency or who have smaller overall household incomes, rising gas prices create a particular burden. Worst off are those Minnesotans who fit within all three of these categories -- and it's usually rural households than get hit by this triple whammy.
Rural Minnesotans cannot opt to take public transportation when gas prices rise, so they bear the cost directly and are forced to reduce spending in other areas, the research found. And, while other costs of living in rural areas are lower than in urban areas, they are not low enough to offset the added burden when gas prices climb.
The complete research report, authored by the Jobs Now Coalition, can be viewed on the Center for Rural Policy and Development's website at www.RuralMN.org.
The Center for Rural Policy and Development, based in Saint Peter, Minn., is a private, not-for-profit policy research organization dedicated to benefiting Minnesota by providing its policymakers with an unbiased evaluation of issues from a rural perspective.