Earlier this week, I noted that despite the rise in premium gas prices, I still haven’t changed any of my driving habits.
Dan Gross makes a similar observation in his column in the Sunday NYT — "Why Prices at the Pump May Have Little Bite." The column goes into detail about what our prior chart showed:
Gasoline is still only 4% of a family budget, and therefore rises
(while annoying) are still absorbable by most families.
"Based on data collected in the bureau’s consumer expenditure surveys in 2004, consumer expenditures per household averaged $43,395; spending on gasoline and motor oil, with gasoline accounting for virtually the entire sum, were 3.7 percent of that, or $1,598.
Since then, this amount has certainly risen with the price of gasoline, but so has average income. John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, estimates that in 2006 the average household will devote $2,150 of its $46,302 in consumer expenditures to gasoline — or 4.6 percent.
"This proportion is certainly up from recent years, but it is something that most households can cope with," said Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte Research. The difference in spending on gasoline from 2004 to 2006, then, is an extra $10.62 a week, about the cost of going to a movie. In 2004, for comparison, the typical household spent significantly less on gasoline than on discretionary things like entertainment ($2,218), or food away from home ($2,434), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
Makes sense to me as to the spending aspect being little impacted (at least in middle and upper income families) . . . Now someone needs to explain to me the political fall out of $3 gas . . .
Why Prices at the Pump May Have Little Bite
NYT, May 7, 2006