According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American spent 4 percent of pre-tax income on gasoline in 2012, or $2,912 for the year. At this level, we are spending more on gasoline now than at any time in the past 30 years.
Small changes in the price of gasoline can have a huge impact on a personal budget, and, taken together, the aggregate affect of changes in the price of gasoline can have a significant impact on the overall economy. To play out the metaphor, consumer spending is the fuel that drives America’s economic engine. Fewer dollars spent at the pump means more dollars spent at local businesses or invested for retirement.
According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a regular gallon of gasoline on July 15 was $3.613. This compares against $3.474 a week ago, $3.618 a month ago, and $3.396 a year ago.