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Impact of Gas Prices Depends on Income

The national average for gas prices crossed the previously untouched $4 mark this weekend, and the New York Times makes the point that how strongly this news affects households around the US depends on income. The color-coded map below demonstrates the percent of income spent on gas and it's clear the percentages tend to coordinate with geography.

See a second map that shows how prices vary throughout the country when you


What percent of your income are you trading for gasoline?

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uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
During the month of April I was so poor because of oweing on my taxes, I didn't go ANYWHERE on the weekends (luckily I live in an interesting area I can walk places). I went 23 days without getting gas. Only TWO of those days I rode my bike to work (2.6 miles). Now that it's summer though, 6 out of 8 weekends I have been heading out of state for one reason or another (I live in TN, most of my family & a lot of close friends live in various parts of KY). I've been biking it to work 3 days a week or so to try and help compensate. It's hard, because I still like going home to see my friends, who I don't get to see much during the rest of the year because they're all in school; I feel the need to visit my grandma because her health is getting worse and worse these days (she's 82 now); and my baby brother graduated high school this year, so I wanted to go home to see that, and also to see his prom. My extended family is doing a lot more carpooling these days though on our grandma trips. But again, I'm really lucky that I live close to work, and have a great bike, and when I do drive, it's a Jetta, so I get good mileage.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
My Economics professor once had us calculate the "tipping point" that would change the price elasticity of demand for gasoline. A couple years ago, demand for gasoline was VERY inelastic - constantly increasing despite prices creeping up over time. That tipping point was projected to be $14. Wow, aren't we stubborn? That's what every liberal talking head was saying - we're so selfish and hard-headed that we don't even think of slowing down before hitting the brick wall that we're hurtling towards. Now that we've topped the $4/gallon mark, we're actually seeing dramatic shifts in how people get around - we're combining errands into one trip around town, strategizing how we get to and from work, carpooling with friends on the weekends. Public transit is seeing record ridership and reporting standing room only every day. Iiiiiinnteresting that gasoline is becoming more elastic, much faster than predicted. And all is quiet at the professor's podium...
fredonica fredonica 9 years
I paid $3.86/gal this morning...ah, the joys of living in Minnesota. Gas prices are a little insane, but maybe that will push us all to use gas more efficiently and to find a viable alternative to oil. Just sayin'.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
This chart isn't very accurate - I live north of Seattle near the Canadian boarder, and our gas is about $.10 more a gallon than Seattle if not more, due to the fact that so many people travel from Canada and get gas down here. It's frustrating because the public transportation isn't that great and we have a oil refinary right outside of town, but our gas is still more.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I just filled up my Camry. $70. WHAT!?!?!?! Ridiculous. I'm lucky I get pretty good gas mileage, but $4.50 is INSANE!
luxington luxington 9 years
I have never owned a car, so inflation in other areas of the economy is what is effecting me.
sfbutterfly24 sfbutterfly24 9 years
I have to thank my luck stars that I have BART & MUNI in my life!!!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
So glad, I can use public transportation here to get in and outside of the city. I feel bad for those that are driving and need to drive - it seems like you are just working to go to work and not making progress with bills and especially with other prices (for example food) increasing.
hihowareya hihowareya 9 years
I wish I had a hybrid!!!
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
Gas prices have cut my job market in half. If I work in Oregon almost HALF of my gross income will go to gas and taxes whereas I will pay significantly less if I stay up in Washington. Bad news is there are far more jobs in Portland than here so it's kind of a lose-lose situation no matter which way I go!
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
I'm so jealous whiplash... :cry:
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
I'm glad that I live 10 minutes from New Jersey. I drive so infrequently that I only need to fill up my tank every 5-6 weeks, but I usually head into South Jersey and get it for much cheaper than it is here in Philly.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
This topic is just plain depressing.
graylen graylen 9 years
Life is not good in LA! The gas prices are just sucking my income so quickly! I travel at least 35 miles a day and it's just adding up and making things a little tough. I actually cried about the gas prices the other day. The cheap, low-quality gas is $4.43.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
life is good in NJ
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
This map really illustrates how the gas prices affect rural communities so much more than people that live in big cities and have more access to public transportation or do not live far from where they work. Sucks for people like ME that drive 37 miles to work and 37 miles back home every single day...compared to people that walk 4 blocks or ride the subway.
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