Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Consumers Taking Financial Hit From Rising Fuel Prices

Consumers have been spending more on gasoline than they have in nearly three decades.

With pump prices at their highest level on record for this time of year, the stage is set for an even greater climb in gasoline prices and expenditures than in 2012. Retail gasoline prices have surged 17 cents in a week to top $3.50 a gallon on average, posting the highest prices on record for the beginning of February.

According to AAA, the national average price of regular gasoline is $3.52 a gallon, 4 cents higher than the average price a year ago. The average price was $3.35 a gallon a week ago and $3.30 a gallon a month ago.  

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Monday that gasoline expenditures in 2012 for the average U.S. household reached $2,912, or just under 4 percent of income before taxes. This was the highest estimated percentage of household income spent on gasoline in nearly three decades, with the exception of 2008, when the average household spent a similar amount. Gasoline prices averaged $3.63 a gallon in 2012, according to EIA.

Although overall gasoline consumption has decreased in recent years, a rise in average gasoline prices has led to higher overall household gasoline expenditures, according to the EIA.

Meanwhile, consumers who use heating oil in their homes have seen sharp increases in those fuel prices and are also paying more than they did a year ago. According to the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, the statewide average price of residential heating oil was $4.14 a gallon for the week ending January 28, up about 3 percent from a year ago.

Full article: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100431822

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