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Which states enjoy bargain prices on the things that count?

Map of U.S.Are you livid about the cost of utilities? Do you want to beat high taxes on goods, services, even your home? Then perhaps you should consider moving, because many of life's necessities and niceties cost less depending on where you live. Here are ten examples of the current "geography pricing gap" in the U.S.:


Natural gas: The cost of natural gas supplies varies by location. Do you live in a bargain state?

Lowest in dollars per thousand cubic feet:
  1. North Dakota -- $8.45
  2. Colorado -- $8.68
  3. Minnesota -- $8.94
  4. Utah -- $8.94
  5. Illinois -- $9.03
  6. South Dakota -- $9.14
  7. Wyoming -- $9.23
  8. New Mexico -- $9.31
  9. Nebraska -- $9.35
  10. California -- $9.40
Or are you in one of the most expensive states for natural gas?
  1. Hawaii -- $36.37
  2. Alabama -- $18.55
  3. Arizona -- $17.70
Cigarettes: Most of the cost of a pack of smokes is tax, and the amount states add on top of the federal $1.01 excise tax varies dramatically from state to state. The states with the lowest taxes on a pack of cigarettes are:
  1. Missouri -- $0.17
  2. Virginia -- $0.30
  3. Louisiana -- $0.36
  4. Georgia -- $0.37
  5. Alabama -- $0.425
  6. North Dakota -- $0.44
  7. North Carolina -- $0.45
  8. West Virginia -- $0.55
  9. South Carolina -- $0.57
  10. Kentucky -- $0.60
The median tax rate -- $1.339

The highest state tax rate on a pack of butts is:
  1. New York -- $4.35
  2. Rhode Island -- $3.46
  3. Washington -- $3.025
The states with the most smokers among the adult population?
  1. Kentucky -- 25.6%
  2. West Virginia -- 25.6%
  3. Oklahoma -- 25.5%
National Hockey League tickets: The poor sister of the four major pro sports in North America is hockey, but attending a game is still pricier than a good movie or a meal in a fine restaurant. There are bargains to be had, however, if you live in one of these cities.

Average ticket price:
  1. St. Louis Blues -- $29.94
  2. Buffalo Sabres -- $36.43
  3. Phoenix Coyotes -- $37.45
  4. Dallas Stars -- $37.80
  5. Carolina Hurricanes -- $38.38
  6. Colorado Avalanche -- $40.62
  7. Washington Capitals -- $41.66
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning -- $42.41
  9. San Jose Sharks -- $43.07
  10. Anaheim Ducks -- $43.50
If you're a fan of a team with the most expensive ducats, you might want to catch the game on TV instead:
  1. Toronto Maple Leafs -- $76.15
  2. Montreal Canadians -- $64.26
  3. Vancouver Canucks -- $62.05
Among U.S. teams, these are the worst values:
  1. Boston Bruins -- $61.40
  2. Minnesota Wild -- $61.28
  3. Philadelphia Flyers -- $60.25
Gasoline: Living in the U.S. means driving, at least until we've developed a network of high-speed trains. Not every driver is treated equally, however, when it comes to filling up the tank. Hopefully, you live in one of these states, where you get a break on fuel costs.

Cost per gallon:
  1. New Jersey -- $2.475
  2. South Carolina -- $2.510
  3. Delaware -- $2.560
  4. Texas -- $2.561
  5. Louisiana -- $2.564
  6. Virginia -- $2.574
  7. Arkansas -- $2.580
  8. Missouri -- $2.585
  9. Tennessee -- $2.585
  10. Alabama -- $2.589
Most expensive:
  1. Hawaii -- $3.557
  2. Alaska -- $3.469
  3. Washington, D.C. -- $3.309
Speeding fines: Most of us who must drive eventually find ourselves wandering over the speed limit, which means sooner or later, we'll get a ticket for speeding. While most states give the court wide latitude in setting the fine, many also have a minimum fine. If you're persuasive enough to talk your way down to a minimum fine, here are the states where you can inveigle a real bargain fine:
  1. Texas -- $1
  2. North Dakota -- $5
  3. Nebraska -- $10
  4. Montana -- $10
  5. Oklahoma -- $10
  6. Washington, D. C. -- $15
  7. South Carolina -- $15
  8. Colorado -- $15
  9. Delaware -- $20
  10. Florida -- $25
  11. Maine -- $25
If you really suck at defending yourself, avoid speeding in the states where you can get slammed with a high maximum:
Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia -- not more than $1,000

Car Insurance:
That speeding ticket could drive up the cost of your car insurance. Let's hope you live in one of these ten relative bargain states.

Average yearly premium:
  1. Indiana -- $916
  2. Hawaii -- $1,012
  3. Iowa -- $1,083
  4. Mississippi -- $1,119
  5. Maine -- $1,141
  6. Idaho -- $1,149
  7. Wisconsin -- $1,166
  8. Arkansas -- $1,193
  9. Alabama -- $1,220
  10. Ohio -- $1,225
National average -- $1,493

Most expensive?
  1. New Jersey -- $2,468
  2. New York -- $2, 447
  3. Delaware -- $2,272
Beer: Certainly beer and car insurance are mortal enemies. However, if you enjoy a brew or two at home while watching the game, you should know that at least a small part of the variation in price from state to state is the taxes on your suds. Here are ten states where your brewskis are bargain-skis.

Excise tax per gallon:
  1. Wyoming -- $0.02
  2. Missouri -- $0.06
  3. Wisconsin -- $0.06
  4. Oregon -- $0.08
  5. Pennsylvania -- $0.08
  6. Kentucky -- $0.08
  7. Colorado -- $0.08
  8. Maryland -- $0.09
  9. Rhode Island -- $0.10
  10. Massachusetts -- $0.11
Not every state is as merciful to the beer fan, though:
  1. Alaska -- $1.07
  2. Hawaii -- $0.93
  3. South Carolina -- $0.77
Sales tax: Part of the cost of that beer in many states is sales tax, which also varies widely from state to state. Here are ten states where residents get a break on their sales tax (of course, these states can get their pound of flesh with different taxes).
  1. Alaska -- None
  2. Delaware -- None
  3. Montana -- None
  4. New Hampshire -- None
  5. Oregon -- None
  6. Alabama -- 4%
  7. Georgia -- 4%
  8. Hawaii -- 4%
  9. Louisiana -- 4%
  10. New York -- 4%
  11. South Dakota -- 4%
  12. Wyoming -- 4%
States with the highest sales tax:
  1. California -- 8.25%
  2. Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee -- 7%
Property tax: Another revenue stream for state and local governments is the property tax. Here are ten states where your digs are least taxed.

Yearly tax as a percent of its overall value:
  1. Louisiana -- 0.14%
  2. Hawaii -- 0.24%
  3. Alabama -- 0.32%
  4. Delaware -- 0.43%
  5. District of Columbia -- 0.43%
  6. Mississippi -- 0.48%
  7. West Virginia -- 0.48%
  8. South Carolina -- 0.49%
  9. Arkansas -- 0.51%
  10. New Mexico -- 0.51%
If you don't mind paying the piper, here are the three states with the highest property tax:
  1. Alaska -- 1%
  2. Indiana -- 0.96%
  3. Massachusetts -- 0.96%
Electricity: Finally, that most useful of utilities, the one that powers our necessities and our toys, electricity. Are you getting a bargain?

Cents per kilowatt hour:
  1. Idaho -- 8.21
  2. Washington -- 8.26
  3. Kentucky -- 8.38
  4. West Virginia -- 8.62
  5. Louisiana -- 8.93
  6. Wyoming -- 9.08
  7. Oregon -- 9.13
  8. Utah -- 9.16
  9. Indiana -- 9.19
  10. Montana -- 9.34
The most expensive electrons?
  1. Hawaii -- 36.37
  2. Alabama -- 18.55
  3. Arizona -- 17.7
Source of data: Tobaccofreekids.org, Taxadmin.org, Carinsurance.com, EIA.gov, Gasbuddy.com, Teammarketing.com, NHTSA.gov, Tax Foundation

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ariasullivan

We live right on the California, Oregon border and we go over to Oregon to do our shopping and escape the sales tax all the time. The problem was that we didn't claim those out of state purchases on our tax return. Fortunately we had audit defense to give us some piece of mind. But it's something to keep in mind: http://www.davisanddavisllc.com

August 31 2011 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply