Even though Americans are cutting down on how often they hit up the gas pump, as a country we’re paying a higher percentage of our incomes on gasoline than we have in the last 30 years. The Energy Department said in a new report that U.S. households shelled out an average of $2,912 last year for gas, or about 4% of their pretax income.
It’s kind of a bummer to hear such figures, especially with the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient vehicles and opting to say, walk or ride a bike instead of driving somewhere nearby, notes the Los Angeles Times.
“The effect of the higher prices in 2011 and 2012 outweighed the effect of reduced consumption,” the Energy Department said.
Another report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (which we are having fun imagining as a room full of stern faces) says there’s even more bad news when it comes to fuel prices — you’re probably going to spend the same amount on gasoline during your vehicle’s life as it cost to buy.
“You’re basically paying for a second car every 15 years. The only thing really benefiting from your oil use is oil companies’ bottom line,” said the report’s author and a policy analyst for the advocacy group.
Gasoline’s drag on household income hit 30-year high in 2012 [Los Angeles Times]