Gas prices, which hit an all-time-high average of $4 a gallon over the weekend, are causing more pain in rural America than anywhere else, with motorists in the South, Southwest, and the upper Great Plains the hardest hit. With relatively low wages and high use of pickup trucks and vans, rural families spend up to 13% of their income on fuel while the national average is only 4%, reports the New York Times.
With little or no public transit, gas expenses are rivaling those for food and housing. “This crisis really impacts those who are at the economic margins of society," said an oil analyst. "These are people who have to decide between food and transportation." Rural drivers are abandoning jobs with long commutes and leaving their out-of-gas vehicles by the roadside until they have the cash to fill them up.