Friday, July 10, 2009

Fuel costs higher, wages lower in rural Minnesota

Filling up the gas tank is a more expensive proposition in rural Minnesota, a new study by the Center for Rural Policy and Development says. Rural residents typically shell out about 3 percent more money for fuel and live on lower incomes than their urban counterparts, Don Davis reports for The Forum of Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn.

By nature, driving in rural areas is more costly than getting around a city: people are more spread out and many professionals like farmers require low-gas-mileage vehicles for hauling equipment and livestock. Davis reports that the average rural salary is $3,700 a month compared to an urban salary of $5,557, and research has found that as rurality increases, so too does the cost of gas.

Other modern necessities such as cars and large appliances have higher effective prices in rural areas, partly because of a lack of repair shops and dealers. Jerry Fruin, a professor and extension economist at the University of Minnesota, says there are no apparent alternatives and the gradual migration of people from rural areas to cities is another hindering factor. “There doesn’t seem to be a solution. ... Live with it or move.” (Read more)

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