With the average cost of gasoline in the U.S. now at $3.53 a gallon, the typical household will spend around $700 more this year to fuel up their vehicles than it did in 2010. That's according to numbers from the Department of Energy (DOE), which says that total gasoline expenses for the average American household is expected to hit $3,235 in 2011, up 28 percent over last year.
Higher gasoline prices mean that consumers have less money left over to spend elsewhere, which some fear may have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. Within a couple of weeks, the DOE believes that gas prices will rise by at least 10 cents a gallon, adding more pain at U.S. pumps.

By mid-summer, drivers are expected to pay, on average, $3.71 for a gallon of gas, but the DOE also says that there's around a 25 percent chance that pump prices will exceed the $4-mark by the end of August. That's closing in on the industry-changing tipping point that Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), discussed earlier this month, and August is not that far away.

[Source: Reuters via Green Car Reports | Image: diaper – C.C. License 2.0]

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