For many Hispanic families, keeping fuel prices low isn’t just about protecting our pocketbooks – it’s about making ends meet. Washington State has the third highest gas prices in the country, just after Hawaii and California. A big part of this cost can be attributed to state fuel taxes which, at 49.4 cents per gallon, are the second highest in the country.
Squaring fuel costs with the average income of a Hispanic family is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The average Hispanic household in Washington has an annual income of $42,300. That’s almost $20,000 less than the average Non-Hispanic White family, which brings in $62,100 per year. As the cost of living increases, many families must spend nearly all their income just to get by, with little left over for savings. When fuel costs go up, more and more families are forced to make tough choices.
For some, especially in the affluent downtowns and suburbs of Western Washington, increases in fuel costs may mean one less dinner out per month. But many regular families have fewer options when it comes to cutting back.
For those with long commutes, living outside urban centers, driving less is not an option. And we all know public transit is spotty at best across the state. When fuel costs go up, driving doesn’t go down, the cost just becomes a greater burden.
The Center for Latino Leadership is working to increase awareness of policies and other factors that can increase the cost of fuel. Join us in supporting access to affordable fuel by signing the petition at Affordable Fuel Washington.