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Gas Prices .. Really?

May 7th, 2008 at 07:31 am

I keep on hearing about gas prices. How they are hurting the average American. Typical media frenzy? Have you wondered how much gas prices increased from last year? A dollar? 2? 1.50?

How about 40 cents. Thatís right the average price of gas went from 3.22 to 3.62 a gallon. Yes I do have sources below from CNN.

So what does that translate to? If you fill up your car every week, itís probably an increase of $32 a month. 20 gallons X 40 cents X 4 weeks.

Is the average American so over extended that $32 a month per vehicle is the straw that broke the camels back? Whatís the median income in the US? About $48,000.

Well, I guess if you have a $600 car payment, mortgage, HELOC, boat payment, plasma TV and credit card debt, it might be hard to come up with that $32 a month.

I really havenít felt the gas or the food increases. Maybe because I live on a budget and follow it. True, I might have to substitute lower priced options like pasta for rice. But, itís not like I have to go from Lobster to Ramen noodles.

Anyway aside form truck drivers, I really donít see how all this really affecting the average American. Maybe, Iím too rich. After all, I am only 23k in debt.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/21/news/economy/record_gas_monday/index.htm

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/05/news/economy/gas_prices/index.htm

38 Responses to “Gas Prices .. Really?”

  1. Aleta Says:

    My husband works in the service industry and he drives all day here and there. Believe me, we feel the gas prices more than most that drive the same distance to work everyday.

    What Mrs Clinton was trying to say is that people who drive alot of miles would appreciate the gas tax holiday. I don't think that that will necessary fix the problem of gas though. I think that it could ascerbate the problem.

  2. noppenbd Says:

    In my opinion, for the average person the increase in gas prices is not really directly causing much financial distress. Maybe I am out of touch (I live in the city and don't drive that much), but I think a lot of it is caused by the visibility of gas prices. I mean you see it every time you drive by a gas station so it is really obvious to everyone.

  3. aevans1206 Says:

    I agree. It's not like we're eating rice and beans over at our house to compensate. However, we have made summer choices based on an increase in gas prices, but that's just frugality.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    Is this news? Gas prices have been going up, up, up ever since I have been driving. Big Grin I remember the world was ending summer 2003 with gas prices. & 2004 & 2005, 2006, 2007...

    But yeah. I am totally sympathetic to the plight of the poor. But I am SO SICK of the middle class going on and on and on. They are in for a rough few years. This is just the beginning when it comes to gas and grocery prices. Stop whining and start preparing for it to get worse. !!

    I can't even read the paper with all the middle class whining... IT is just getting SO old.

  5. Aleta Says:

    Just because someone is middle class doesn't mean that they have money to burn especially if they medical bills their insurance doesn't pay. Middle class can't receive medicaid and services when they're living on less.

    I just went back to my records and I was paying $2.29 per gallon last year. I'm now paying $3.74. That is a difference of $1.45 a gallon and with a civic gas tank of 12 gallons - that's $17.40 more on a fill up.

    I live on a gas budget per month and it was never based on $3.74 cent a gallon gas.

    Maybe you aren't feeling it in your tank; but you are in your food prices, services, and other items that have gone up in price as a result of the increases.

    Many of you are going to start paying higher prices for services such as someone like my husband who is going to charge more now because of the gas prices.

    I don't think that people are whining. I think it is a legitimate concern when you are living on a certain amount of money a month.

  6. gruntina Says:

    Gas prices going up means a lot of other services or products goes up if it requires driving on job to maintain the business.

    So it really hurts the business and jobs which they often pass the price increase to their customers who are paying a little more for their own gas increase along with groceries increase and etc. It hurts business more than individuals on a larger scale.

  7. merch Says:

    Aleta - so last year you were paying 30% less then the national average and this year you are paying 4% more then the national average.

    Are you sure you didn't go from 3.29 to 3.74? That would be more inline with the articles I have been reading.

    Anyway, we could save a lot of money on gas if the refinery didn't have to switch for summer formulas. By the way I think Vermonet has its own formula.

  8. Aleta Says:

    Merch: Yes, the numbers are correct. I'm looking at my records and I have the listings for the amount, gallons, price per gallon, and my mileage per gallon. This is what I paid. There is a big difference.

  9. sagegirl Says:

    I know a lot of the issues are with middle class Americans not adjusting their spending to cover necessities. A lot of people don't budget well and do a poor job, or refuse at all, to curb their discretionary spending.
    Having said that, I am a middle class American, with a husband who has been laid off and is looking for work, we have to take COBRA insurance to the tune of $1000 per month. We do not live lavishly, we do have debts we are working on repaying, we have not had a vacation in years, and usually feel like we are just scraping by. So, an extra 40 cents per gallon since last year may not seem like a lot, but to families who did not get a pay raise last year, who pay ungodly amounts for health insurance, and have spouses who have had to take 2 pay cuts in the last two years--when income doesn't keep pace with price increases--you tend to feel it quiet a bit. I understand that some people see it as "whining" when families express frustration at paying an extra 11 cents per pound for bananas, but not every middle class American should be classified as a "whiner" or as an over-reactor. Like I said, many people are still trying to live beyond their means, but not all of us are.

  10. A Nonni Mouse Says:

    Merch said < B< < Are you sure you didn't go from 3.29 to 3.74? That would be more inline with the articles I have been reading.> > B>

    That's the problem with YOU, you are reading too much in to what you are reading! @@ It seems likes it's only right/true if/when you agree with has been written! @@ Guess what? Don't be so quick to believe anything/everything you read.

  11. koppur Says:

    I agree with Aleta. When you go from paying $2.80 to $3.50+ a gallon, and you fill up your car TWICE a week because of your work commute, it adds up, and fast. And it's all well and good to say you budget, but what happens when your budget is stretched to breaking point (without any fancy extras) and you only budget for 8 fill ups a month at $2.80? It may not make me bankrupt, but I either have to choose between gas in my car, electricity, or my meds, or I have to put it on a CC, and end up paying more for it in the long run. Yes, it will get worse, but that doesn't mean it doesn't suck now.

  12. Aleta Says:

    A Nonni Mouse: I didn't know that I had a problem. Merch asked a question and I responded with saying that the figures were what I said that they were. What was it about what I said that you didn't understand?

    I don't have to agree with someone who is saying something that is contrary to what I think or what others are saying. It is right for me when it is my experience not yours.

  13. merch Says:

    I just asked for clarification.

    The articles I have been reading say the national average for 5/2007 were around 3.22. I asked if you were sure. But I guess I should take someones random word on a blog then believing CNN, WSJ, and Bloomberg. Since they all say the the ave national gass price increased 40-45 cents from 5/2007 to 5/2008.

    I do find it interesting that May of last year you were paying 70% on the national average and this year you are paying 104%. It does seem odd.

    By the by, I don't trust everything I read. I usually try to double source my information. I just beleive that the media is creating a scare that isn't necessarily true.

    I am also saying that for the average American, the price increase from last year is not enough to be a deal breaker.

  14. merch Says:

    Aleta - I think 'A Nonnie Mouse' was talking to me.

  15. merch Says:

    Source: http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/sbsavg.asp

    Here is a site from AAA that shows increases from last year to this year in my area of 60 cents.

    If you use Diesal, there has been larger spikes. This page pretty much localizes gas prices.

    But a lot of places only show and increase of 40 cents. So I stick by my original thoughts.

  16. koppur Says:

    merch..where do you live? I'm wondering b/c gas prices to to have been kinda high last year where you were compared to where I am...

  17. merch Says:

    I am outside Boston, down by Medfield.

    I took a quick look at some of the states and 40 cents seems to be reasonable.

  18. Aleta Says:

    The price that I gave you was for February 26, 2007. You said last year - you didn't say which month. Actually I can go back to 2.179 on February 13 , 2.139 on January 28, and 2.199 on January 18th. Sorry but even in May I paid 2.999 and now it's 3.749. Even with that, it's ,75 more a gallon. That's still $9.00 more a gallon even with that. I don't think that you can go just from May of last year. You only have to go back about 4 months to a much lower cost.

  19. Aleta Says:

    Sorry I meant to say $9.00 more for each tank.

  20. koppur Says:

    merch...i am in quincy now, but when i was in new bedford, just being outside the 128 loop made a huge difference

  21. merch Says:

    Aleta - When I said last year, I meant a year ago. I meant May 7th from last year. You can't pick the cheapest price last year and call that year to year change. By the way, they switch formulas and the summer gas is always more expensive then winter gas.

    $9.00 a tank more and I was saying $8.00 a tank more. I stand by my orginal blog. using your figures, $9.00 a tank more on an annual salary of $48,000 should not be a deal breaker. So my end numbers are not that far fetched.

    By the way, I am exclude people that drive for a living and I realize that deisel has gone up over $1. I am just talking about normal people with normal driving, using regular gas.

    And $9.00 is close enough to my $8.oo estimate. By the way, the Feb 2007 to May 2007 increase (2.14 to 3.00) which represents 3 month, was greater then your May 2007 to May 2008 increase.

  22. debtfreeme Says:

    I love this website that has a place to graph gas prices in CA for the past 6 years. It is an interesting thing to see.


    It was interesting to note that the average gas prices in CA in July 2007 was 2.79 and even in February the average price was 3.14 or so. I paid 3.99 a gallon on my last fill up on Friday. Between July and now that is an increase of 1.20 in less than a year. Today the cheapest I could see on my way to work was 4.09. And premium was 4.29. I know other places are paying even more.

    I only get one tank of gas a week as I budget 40 a week. That does not even get me a full tank. I am going to have to up it to 50 a week.

    Listening to the Today show Monday freaked me out because they said some economists can see the price for a barrel of oil reaching 150 to 200 within a year.

    How does that grab everyone?

  23. debtfreeme Says:

    I also thought it was interesting that the Lundberg survery went from polling 800 stations in 2007 to thousands of stations according to the articles.

  24. reginaastralis Says:

    I know, personally, that I am just inside my "budget" for gas. For about the past year, I have budgeted $40/wk, and I am no longer able to fill my tank for $40. I am just trying to keep the gas in the tank for longer periods ... fingers crossed!

    I do know also, that my tips are going down compared to last year ... and that's what's really scaring me. If I am not making as much money per month, and the prices are going up ... that's not a good sign on my end.

  25. MarianneJ Says:

    It is up 40 cents just in the last 4 weeks here (NJ), so I think that is why it seems so overwhelming to people. It is increasing so FAST instead of inching up over longer periods of time.

    I looked back at my records and I paid $2.81/gal on November 19, 2007 (when I started using YNAB) and today the same station is at $3.42/gal - so a total increase of $0.61/gallon over the last 6 months or approximately 10 cents/month.

    I am still budgeting $100/month for gas, but with my 44 mile round-trip commute it is getting tight. I have tried to not drive on weekends whenever possible and have been hypermiling as I explained in my blog a couple months back. I've been getting 34-36 miles per gallon regularly since starting to hypermile which is why I have been able to stay at $100/month so far. Maybe not for too much longer though if prices continue to rise through the summer.

  26. baselle Says:

    I'm really noticing the gas prices going up because it means more people are on public transportation. (I don't drive very often - I take the bus everywhere.) Bus fares went up .25 in March, but my workplace subsidizes the bus pass. So in July it might have an impact. Right now its academic for me.

  27. monkeymama Says:

    Ah - DebtFreeMe - your graphs prove my point. Look at the jump in gas in 2003 and 2005. I remember those years in particular because I was on maternity leave and when everyone was so "the sky was falling" we felt blessed we had nowhere to be in particular. So I was looking at that graph and gas prices went up way more percentage-wise in 2003 & 2005.

    Of course, 2008 is not over yet.

    We also live in the same city and have been paying $3.65 gas. We paid much more than $2.79 last summer. So I am not seeing the huge jump either I guess.

    To me it is just very deja vu. I guess it is hitting people's breaking points more.

    & I couldn't agree more on the health insurance. Our health insurance has gone up 800% in 5 years. What does that have to do with gas? It's all the more reason I think the freakout over gas is ridiculous. So I have to budget another $25 monthly? All these years trying to figure out insane health insurance increases, this seems like a walk in the park.

    Anyway, let me be clear. I am sympathetic to anyone truly struggling. IT's just a shame the media is intent on covering the idiots who make six figures and drive gas guzzlers. That stuff is what is getting so OLD. Otherwise I have little to argue about anything else said. I've said many times I wish the media would cover more those who were truly struggling.

  28. ceejay74 Says:

    This is the real world, and America is becoming a part of it. Our gas has been artificially cheap because of government subsidies.

    Not only are fossil fuels harmful to the environment, but they're also finite. We need to change our national way of life and figure out how to not use as much.

    It does suck because some of us live on such tight budgets, but it's a reality that's not going to go away.

  29. Bad credit loan Says:

    "In my opinion, for the average person the increase in gas prices is not really directly causing much financial distress. Maybe I am out of touch (I live in the city and don't drive that much), but I think a lot of it is caused by the visibility of gas prices. I mean you see it every time you drive by a gas station so it is really obvious to everyone."
    Well sure, the gas might not be the only thing but it's not just the gas that is on the high. Everything that we used to do a couple of years ago costs us more and some cases, way more!

    Electric bills, eating out in the restaurants, food costs more, travel expenses have also also on the high and clothing. Combine all this with the (ever) increasing gas prices, I think an average American will find it hard to make ends meet if he is already on a tight budget.

  30. thriftorama Says:

    I live in Central Ohio and it's big news here. I think it's because our city has no transit option other than cars, and the last 50 years have been an era of suburban sprawl. People here drive 40 miles one way to work. There's a story in the paper here almost every day with people moaning about the hardship. I feel for them, but only temporarily. If it's really ruining their life, it's time to make hard choices-- move closer to work or find work closer to home. You can't have it all. It's unsustainable.

  31. cicy33 Says:

    I know here our jump is about $.80 a gallon. I am not sure the exact cost I paid a year ago but just a few short months ago I was paying around $2.90 and sometimes less. Now, we are paying $3.79 per gallon. that is a huge jump to me. and most of it increased within the past 2 months. I used to get by on about $60 every two weeks. Last two week period: $91.00

  32. kristinecfp Says:

    It doesn't really hurt us on a month to month basis, but we do consider the price of gas when planning a driving vacation. I actually just blogged about this today Wink

  33. sillyoleme Says:

    I guess we would be considered poor compared to other people. I make $36,000 and am paying about $3.69 for gas right now. A year ago, before we moved to this new state, we were paying $2.85. Four months before that, it was $1.97. So for us, within a year and a half, we've had a $1.50 increase.

    That is rough on two young adults that don't have established assets or careers. We are struggling, have very little extra money, trying to save for future stuff (wedding, etc), and we feel every little increase. I try not to whine, because I don't see how that helps anything, but I do think it's a little unfair for people who don't have to commute or live within a city to judge how hard this has been on others.

    I currently have a 45 mile commute to work five days per week. Back home, my parents have to commute between 20 & 35 miles to work, just to have decent jobs (they make about $40,000). They don't have a choice, and it sucks.

  34. sounderella Says:

    I live in GA and was paying $2.65 this time last year. The national average is just that...an average. You shouldn't base that on the whole because some people paid less than that and some people paid more. The people that paid less are definitely hurting now and of course for the people who paid more then.....I'm very sorry for them now. I can afford to pay the 3.75 I'm paying now, but who knows if it keeps going up.

  35. AmbitiousSaver Says:

    We haven't been feeling the pinch so much since I work from home & my husband and I still fall within our $200/mo budget for gas even though we do have 2 car loans, a HELOC, student loans, and a CC. It did however cost me $57 to fill up my van today (it was on empty). But I definitely hear about the pinch from all my friends who do drive more than I do and I've been cutting back on the little driving I already do cause that $200 used to be able to allow for some discretionary driving, and now it no longer does.

  36. SicilyYoder Says:

    I spend $200.00 a month on gasoline- it is around $3.99 a gallon here now- I travel for my contracting business, my website articles, and book events.

  37. Nika Says:

    My husband commutes close to 100 miles each day - in heavy traffic for half of it.
    We still pay more for tolls than for gas!

  38. reflectionite Says:

    in australia last year petrol cost between $1.10-$1.30 a litre. now it's $1.49 on a good day and usually around $1.60. diesel used to be around $1.29 per litre (a year ago) and now it is over $1.70 a litre.
    i know this thread is all about americans but i just wanted to show that it's happening all over Smile

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