Budget Buster: Families Spend $3K a Year on Gas

New government estimates say families are spending nearly $3,000 a year just to fill up their gas tanks.

Families are devoting more of their money to gas these days than they have in most of the past 30 years, according to new estimates in a U.S. energy report.

The average American household spent $2,912—or about 4 percent of its gross income—on gas in 2012, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is a bigger drain on the family budget than at any time in the past three decades except 2008, when the gas grab was about the same.

What may be frustrating for some to hear is that while gas consumption has gone down in recent years, the budget burden has only gotten worse as gas prices have increased.

Back in the early 1980s, families were spending more than 5 percent of their income on gas but traveling much less than we do today. Since then, fuel efficiency has increased significantly, making it cost less per mile for us to get where we're going. However, while U.S. gas consumption was at its lowest level in 10 years in 2011, average gas prices increased that year by 26.1 percent and then again by 3.3 percent last year, according to the EIA.


How much is your family spending on gas? What do you do to save money? Tell us in the comments section.

Edward A. February 11, 2013 at 07:42 AM
If the "silent" majority broke their silence to blame gas prices on the POTUS, it is probably best to keep it zipped. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." (nobody really knows who said this first, but it is usually attibuted to Abraham Lincoln).
Holly Blash-Wood February 13, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Susan Milke, robert's point was not about "choosing" to forgo driving etc... "They have to take every cent they have to survive". There is no choice either feed the family or drive?
Susan Milke February 13, 2013 at 07:47 PM
I understand Robert's situation. I am with him on that. I think we are arguing the minor points in this. Shouldn't we all be able to live comfortably, enjoy life, feed our families, etc. Why do we have to live this way, always waiting to go into debt, whether it is for medical, mortgage, food, etc. No-one should live this way in any country. Ask yourself why is it so hard to get by for most of us and a very few have so much. Who controls us and why do we let them?!
Holly Blash-Wood February 13, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Very good points all. "Who controls us and why do we let them?!" is the root and a very complicated ball it is! One limb to start with would be "Why do we buy into it?" Buy being the operative word. The use of advertising and the messages, weather overt or subliminal, are crafted to lead us in what ever direction wanted.
Susan Milke February 13, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Holly you are so correct. Is our economy so bad or are they using it as an excuse to lay people off and make more money for themselves?


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