Missouri ranks near the top of a study that looks at energy costs for businesses, meaning our state has some of the lowest costs nationwide.

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council puts Missouri as sixth in the nation when looking at electricity and gasoline costs. Ray Keating is the organization’s chief economist and spearheaded the Energy Cost Index 2009, the study’s second year.

He says Kansas and Kentucky also ranked well, but that lawmakers shouldn’t just be looking at our neighbors. States need to be competitive nationally and globally, he says.

"In tough economic conditions such as these, elected officials at all levels of government need to be aware of how their policies impact energy costs, and in turn, small businesses," he says. "Higher taxes and increased energy regulations and mandates only add to the cost burdens of entrepreneurs and negatively affect a state’s competitiveness and economy."

Missouri did better this year, the report says. Our state ranked 16th last year.

Keating says many factors affect the cost of energy: economic growth, investment in exploration and development of resources, the specific energy resources being used, political risks, government mandates, regulations and taxes.

Topping the list — Wyoming has the lowest energy costs, followed by Idaho, Utah, Kentucky and West Virginia. Hawaii is listed as having the highest energy costs, followed by New York and Connecticut (tied), Alaska and Rhode Island.

The council also puts out a Small Business Survival Index each year. Missouri ranks 14th on that list. The Show Me State is listed in yet another SBEC report as the 13th best state in the nation on the Business Tax Index.

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Oakton, Va.

To view the full report, visit the council’s Web site .

Jessica Machetta interviews Ray Keating [Download/listen MP3]