When holiday travel is over, the typical American household will have spent about $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981.
Gas averaged more than $3.50 a gallon this year, another unfortunate record. And next year isn’t likely to bring relief.
Prices are high, despite slow economic growth and comparatively weak demand.
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“In 1981, when the economy was sliding into recession and oil prices were high because of Middle East turmoil, gas ate up 8.8 percent of the typical family budget,” says Fred Rozell of the Oil Price Information Service.