Despite Falling Pump Prices, Americans Spending More Than Ever for Gas | Edmunds

Despite Falling Pump Prices, Americans Spending More Than Ever for Gas


Just the Facts:
  • The total amount American families spend on gasoline has remained near an all-time high, according to a study by Securing America's Future Energy.
  • The new data comes at a time when AAA reports that fuel prices are at a seven-month low and still falling.
  • According to SAFE, fuel expenditures are up because of the high price of crude oil, and one solution might be to take advantage of the latest alternative-fuel vehicles.

WASHINGTON — Although AAA reports that fuel prices are at a seven-month low and still falling, the total amount Americans spend on gasoline has remained near an all-time high, according to a study by Securing America's Future Energy.

Using recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics the consumer advocacy group determined that the average U.S. household spent more than $2,600 on gasoline in 2013 for the third consecutive year. That represents a 111 percent increase from the average $1,235 spent a decade earlier.

SAFE also noted that gasoline spending increased by an average of 8 percent annually over the past decade, while other discretionary spending increased by an average of only one percent per year.

The blame lies with the high price of crude oil, according to SAFE.

"Surging domestic oil production has benefited the American economy in a number of ways; however, the new data from BLS shows that relief from gasoline spending for typical consumers has not been one of them," said SAFE's Executive Vice President, Sam Ori, in a statement. "Until there is greater fuel competition in the transportation sector, Americans will continue to pay the global price for oil, and high fuel costs will continue to burden the American economy."

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Tuesday pegged the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline at $3.33 versus $3.43 a month ago.

Pump prices are expected to decline another 10-20 cents per gallon by the end of October, according to AAA.

Said AAA spokesman Avery Ash in a statement: "If we can get through September without any major refinery or overseas problems, we should see more gas stations drop below $3.00 per gallon this fall."

One way for American families to control fuel spending, according to SAFE, is to take advantage of the latest alternative-fuel vehicles.

"The price of electric vehicles (EVs) is falling and attributes like range and recharging time continue to improve," said the SAFE report. "In the sub-compact segment, EVs will reach cost parity with conventional internal combustion engine vehicles by 2016."

Some suggestions for electric vehicles from the Environmental Protection Agency include the Chevrolet Spark EVFord Focus ElectricFiat 500e, Honda Fit EV, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Rav4 EV.

More information on fuel-efficient vehicle choices can be found at the Edmunds Hybrid and Electric Center.

Edmunds says: It's nice to see gas prices on a downward trend, but the SAFE report is not good news for American consumers.

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