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Gasoline as percentage of household income up

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The Energy Information Administration reported this morning that gasoline prices as a percentage of household income were nearly at a three-decade high.

The average U.S. household spends about $2,012 in gasoline expenditures annually, representing about 4 percent of income before taxes. In the past 30 years, gasoline prices represented such a large part of annual household spending only in 2008, when the percentage was similar.

"Although overall gasoline consumption has decreased in recent years, a rise in average gasoline prices has led to higher overall household gasoline expenditures," the EIA posted on its Today in Energy blog. "However, these expenditures as a percentage of overall household income are still low when compared to the early 1980s, when the estimated portion of household income spent on gasoline surpassed 5 percent. Although travel per household has increased significantly since the early 1980s, vehicle efficiency has also risen significantly, reducing the amount of gasoline used per mile."

Higher prices, the EIA state,s has largely offset the effects of efficiency gains that lead to lower overall of consumption of gasoline.

The EIA added that expenditures rose over 26 percent from 2011 to 2012 while household income increased just 3.4 percent.