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Budget Buster: Palm Desert 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.

[RELATED: Click here for some of the cheapest gas prices in Palm Desert]

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.

Tell us: How much is your family spending on gas? What do you do to save money?

Roland Alden February 09, 2013 at 09:26 PM
The price of gasoline at the pump is artificially low because it does not include the cost of keeping the nation in a continuous state of war in order to obtain petroleum; nor does it include the cost of the environmental damage caused by burning it. Both costs are on a steady march upwards while investments in alternatives (like better telecommunications networks), is stagnant. We are apparently willing to pay upwards of $100 per gallon (the real cost we and the next generations are actually paying) in order to preserve a “lifestyle” which didn’t even exist 100 years ago.

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