It would have been considerably worse were it not for the last few weeks of significant declines. The government's last survey of the year has an average gallon of regular at $3.635, up about four cents from a week ago and about 31 cents from the beginning of 2011. This has been an especially tough year to figure out fuel costs because the price of oil bounced around so unpredictably. From ConsumerAffairs.com:
If you'll recall the pain at the pump consumers endured in 2008, when gas prices averaged well over $4 a gallon at mid-year, the total spending during that year was less than this year - coming in at $448 billion. Prices didn't go as high this year, but stayed at elevated levels for a longer period of time. In 2008, prices collapsed in the fourth quarter, along with the rest of the economy. Last year, motorists spent a total of $389 billion on gasoline, according to the Oil Price Information Service. When all of this data is broken down, Fred Rozell, OPIS' Retail Director, says each American household will have spent an average of $4,155 on gasoline 2011, approximately 8.4 percent of an average family's income. Gasoline prices began rapidly rising in late 2010, when normally they go down.