Home / Budgeting / $2,500 Per Year Per Car for Gasoline
Print Friendly and PDF

$2,500 Per Year Per Car for Gasoline

Written by Gary North on May 2, 2012

I recently filled my gasoline tank. It came to $75. I drive a Toyota minivan. It gets about 20 miles to the gallon on average. I don’t drive it on the road for long trips often. My 1993 Dodge minivan gets better mileage.

A wife in the United States drives about 1,000 miles a month. A husband drives about 1,300 miles a month. The estimates are here. On average, that is at least 1,100 miles per car per month. I don’t know what mileage family vehicles get. I doubt that this is much higher than 20 miles per gallon in town for all the cars on the road. So, that is in the range of 55 gallons per month, or 660 gallons per year. Multiply this by $3.80 per gallon. This is $2,500 a year per car. Some cars get better mileage than others. But, any way you look at it, families with two cars are paying close to $5,000 a year in gasoline.

In 1998, I can remember paying 70 cents a gallon during a gasoline war. Prices at $1 a gallon were common.

Yet over the last 60 years, gasoline prices have remained little changed, according to government figures. Here is an inflation-adjusted chart.

Do I believe this chart? No. That’s because a 4-to-one increase in the last 14 years was a time of consumer prices rising by 40%. Gasoline at almost $4 vs.  $1 is not reflected in this chart. I was there, Charlie.

American families’ budgets are being squeezed. They are having to pull money out of other areas of spending in order to keep driving. It is very difficult for most people to change their driving habits. They must drive to work. They must take the children around town.

This hits the middle class in the middle years: ages 25 to 45. Rich people do not spend a high proportion of their income on gasoline. Poor people do not own cars or do not drive much. The middle class is trapped.

This is why the price of gasoline is a major factor in the voters’ perception of how well they are doing. They are not doing well.

Is this going to change? Yes. For the worse. China and India are starting to consume more oil. They will consume far more.

Whoever is President will get blamed. It is not his fault, but he will get blamed. This means that national politics will be increasingly frustrated by a middle class that is losing its relative position. These people vote in larger numbers than the rich, the poor, or the young.

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

15 thoughts on “$2,500 Per Year Per Car for Gasoline

  1. recon77 says:

    I would like to see them go up through 2012 on this!!!

  2. Bill McCroskey says:

    Fuel costs (transportation) are passed thru ultimately on to the price of everything sold, made, moved or anything else involving commerce. But, there is barely any inflation according to the liars in D.C.

  3. When I use my pick up it costs on average per day $75.00. It gets at best 11 MPG. My Mits gets, and this is if I travel at 55 or less, 43 MPG. My Mits was made here in the United States in September 1993. Therefore, it is listed as a 1994. The fact remains if I use my pick up five days a week it works out to be on average $375 per week or $19,500.00 per year. So in light of the article, I see no comparison at all. If you feel 25 hundred is a lot just try working a pick up.

  4. Do you know how much American oil companies pay for oil pumped by foreign companies? No, and I don't either. But, what if American oil companies were buying foreign oil so much cheaper than US oil that drilling here was against their policy. If they're buying cheaper foreign oil it simply means that their profits are greater here at home. Why would they give that up. If oil companies here realy wanted to get legislation to shut off foreign oil to help America, don't you think they have the lobbiests to make that happen.

    Also, if the KeystoneXL pipeline goes through, oil companies will have less expensive oil but if it is still costs more for the oil companies, they will continue to buy cheaper foreign oil, will simply sell the XL oil to other countries and we won't benefit. Our US oil companies don't set prices but they are looking out for themselves first–not the US.

  5. kodster says:

    The reason why the gas prices probably wouldn't come down isn't greed, if the Keystone XL pipeline goes through… it's the fact that we don't have enough refineries here in the US to process it! They would have to have that profit line to build the refineries, and get the damned expensive bureaucratic red tape permits, et al, to build them, and/or upgrade the ones they have already… they are so out of date and environmentally out of touch, it's not funny.

  6. This article makes no point. What are you trying to say other than doing a math calculation? If I knew it was this easy to get published, I would start writing, at least I wouldn't waste peoples time with a pointless article….

  7. blh557 says:

    "Whoever is President will get blamed. It is not his fault, but he will get blamed."

    Whoever fails to act, like the Obamao, to "allow" the US to become energy independent will be blamed, and IS at fault. If it were not for private landowners in Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and other mid-western and Rocky Mountain states gasoline would still be rising in price right now. The Obamao Monarchy, excuse me, administration, have done EVERYTHING they can to stop the exploration, drilling and production of shale and land-petroleum, of course as well as offshore leases, etc., including pulling unconstitutional power grabs by executive (dis)order.

    The facts are undeniable: Democrats, for the most part, have been seriously obstructionist in their actions to block domestic energy production and this president has been the worst, ever.

    I drive 171 miles round trip every day. That's about $150 a week in gasoline just for may work car that averages just over 25mpg. Our country has the potential to produce enough petroleum (forget "fossil") based energy sources to hold us at our current consumption rate for AT LEAST 150 years at our current technology. I, for one, don't care about the Straits of Hormuz if we're replacing dirty crude with cleaner shale at a 1.5:1 ratio. And shale can be processed for about $35-$50 per barrel, and it is already partially refined when it hits the surface. Match that with the gigantic natural gas discoveries and newer technologies for polymerization of methane to produce fuel oils and we could even become the world's largest exporter of oil. With American ingenuity producing fuel cells, liquid natural gas (LNG) vehicles and plans for expansion of LNG fueling stations across the country (unless the Obamao is able to prevent it) and we can see a brighter energy future based on real-world scenarios and not greenie-based algae and solar/wind generation/ hydrogen "fantasies" that are, so far, good for only one thing and that is increasing the payments for our grandchildren. In addition, the jobs, taxes and MONEY will go to AMERICANS (and a few illegals… ;)> ).

    Okay, so much for today's rant.

    Enuff said.

  8. I just moved back here from the UK. There, I had a 1999 V70 Volvo wagon. It cost me average of 120 pounds to 90 pounds to fill up. That is around $9 a gallon. That was each WEEK due to zero buses / public transport in rural areas. Given the sheer size of the US the gas mileage of an individual vehicle is important but the price per gallon is still cheap c/f Europe. Best thing to do is drill baby drill and get it back down to $2.89 and the only thing that will do that is a regime change in DC.

  9. Jstarusa says:

    Nice to hear common sense replies for a change.

  10. In 1960 I was paying $.25/gallon. That is 25 cents people.

  11. thestorm says:

    The fed. gov. gets around 18% of every $1.00 spent in fuel which is suppose to maintain our highways,bridges,ecx. That being the case,why do they put these projects in stimulus packages that we are borrowing money to pay for the projects? The same is true for the state tax on fuel.State fuel tax are different in each state depending upon how much money they want to steal from you.Think about how much fuel is bought on a daily basis. These people are soaking us. If they really cared about us,they would susoend the tax now to make our lives somewhat better.

  12. Donald Vastlik says:

    In the article you said poor people don]t drive much so the burdon is on the middle class. If a family lives in a rural area like I do in Mississippi everyone must drive. The poor people get trapped also.

  13. You have it right, Peter. Welcome to the U.S. Hopefully you're a documented U.S. citizen so you can assist us in the regime change in November.

  14. Gregoire says:

    Gary, you are older than I am and I remember $0.19/gallon in the mid 70s for gas and diesel was even cheaper. The dishonesty of the government and media charts is profound. When we talk about the impact on other commodities due to transport we need to really consider Diesel. It should be lower than gas as it is less costly to produce and transport so it has even more taxes built in.

  15. Halo9x says:

    You are right, Obama has had 3 and a half years to increase drilling on Fed lands. What has he done? Nothing but hinder all efforts and lies saying that he has done all that can be done. He is about to kill the coal industry. Power plants are closing down due to his EPA going after them. He needs to go!