There's no such thing as a free lunch — or a free tank of gas. But the question of precisely why that tank of gas is so expensive is on a lot of people's minds, as evidenced by these Google autocomplete results analyzed by Improvenet. After looking at the most common results for the Google search "Why is [X] so expensive?" they were able to determine what people in various states think is the most expensive thing to buy in their state. Do you agree with the results for yours?
Of course, this isn't a study of what products are relatively the most expensive in each state so much as it is a look at what people think is the most expensive. Or at least, what the sort of people who type full questions into Google think the most expensive things are in their state. But still, that can tell you a lot about what people don't like paying for, what might have gone up in price recently, or what people don't feel like they can afford — all useful information.
So what are the results? Well, interestingly, there are a lot of different things people think are unduly expensive in their state — though there is one that seems to clearly be the most common. Here are just a few things people think are expensive in their state; check out the full map over at Improvenet.
People in Alabama are concerned about the cost of liquor in their state, which makes sense since they do have some steep liquor taxes. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania and Virginia are curious about the cost of beer.
2. Property and Housing
People in Texas want to know why land is so expensive, while people in North Dakota and Wyoming are trying to look up why housing costs so much. And to no one's surprise, New York — home of the The Rent Is Too Damn High party — want to know why rent is so expensive. If you figure it out, let me know.
3. Cars and Insurance
People in New Jersey are worried about insurance in general, while people in Kentucky are worried about car insurance specifically. And car-related expenses were also an issue for people in Nevada (who are worried about car registration) and people in Mississippi think car tags cost a lot.
I have no idea why Maryland thinks their marijuana is expensive, but they certainly seem interested.
This one is actually kind of sad. People in five states — Hawaii, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Maine — want to know why milk is so expensive, which is a good indication that parents are having a hard time buying enough of it for their kids. Like I said, sad.
Utilities, man. What are you going to do? But even though no one likes it when the electric bill arrives, people in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Arizona seem particularly concerned that their electric bills are expensive.
If your state hasn't shown up on here yet, chances are good that your fellow citizens are mostly concerned about the price of gas. In fact, almost half the states in the nation have "gas" as their most common search in this formula. Which kind of means that gas is probably just generally expensive.
To see a map of all this Googling, and to find out more about what people are Googling regarding your state — including what their preconceptions seem to be — you can go to Improvenet's website here.