The money Americans spent in 2012 putting gasoline in their cars took the biggest bite out of U.S. household income in several decades, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA reported Monday that the average household spent $2,912 for gas in 2012, which accounts for nearly 4 percent of pre-tax income, tying 2008 for the highest percentage in almost 30 years, reports The Hill.
In the early 1980s, gasoline expenditures as a share of household income were above 5 percent.
Although gasoline prices were high enough last year to push the share of household spending to the highest level in decades, overall gasoline consumption remained on the decline.
The good news -- consumers were using less gasoline. The bad news -- the price of gas at the pump rose sharply.
“Efficiency gains have accelerated in recent years, such that total U.S. gasoline consumption fell in 2011 to 134.2 billion gallons, its lowest level since 2001.
However, at the same time, EIA's average city retail gasoline price rose 26.1 percent in 2011, and another 3.3 percent in 2012, when it reached $3.70 per gallon.
The effect of the higher prices in 2011 and 2012 outweighed the effect of reduced consumption,” EIA reports.
“As a result, expenditures increased to a record annual average of $2,655 per household in 2011, rising to an estimated $2,912 in 2012.
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