Americans are on track to spend over $490 billion on gasoline in 2011 -- $100 billion more than they spent in 2010. A new interactive website
released today by the New America Foundation chronicles the plight of middle class households struggling with high gas prices during the recession. The website is based on scores of interviews, an economic analysis of trends in gas consumption since 1970, and a survey of 2,000 households.
The average family of four spends more on private transportation than on health insurance or taxes. When the price of gasoline rises, many families find that they're trapped: They have to spend even more on gasoline
and cut other necessities, because they can't cut back on gas.
The report's key findings include:
- When it comes to transportation, people don't adjust to the price of gas by using less gas;
- Price increases in gas disproportionally hurt the middle class; and
- Fuel efficient cars and better transit are the answer, but they need to be more accessible to struggling families, not only the wealthy.
The stories and analysis were done by Lisa Margonelli, director of the Energy Policy Program at the New America Foundation. Margonelli is author of, Oil on the Brain: Petroleum's Long Strange Trip to Your Tank.
The interactive website is available here: http://stories.energytrap.org