The good news, for the domestic fossil fuel types, is that US oil production went up. The better news is that more people bought hybrids, plug-ins and high-fuel-economy vehicles, theoretically cutting their gasoline purchases as a result. And yet there remains some bad news for the domestic economy, as average US household spending on gasoline neared record highs last year.

The average US household spent more than $2,600 fueling up in 2013. That's about the same as each of the previous two years and more than double the amount American households spent in 2002, Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) says, citing the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES).

Naturally, the impact hit the hardest on lower-income households, where gasoline spending accounted for almost 13 percent of pre-tax income. And the increases have been steady. Gas prices have been rising on average by a rate of eight percent annually during the past 10 years. By comparison, non-gasoline discretionary spending only rose about one percent a year.

Some good news may be on the way, though. Average US gas prices on Friday averaged $3.34 a gallon. That was down from $3.43 a year ago, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report. Check out SAFE's press release below.
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American Gasoline Spending near All-Time High in 2013

New data finds average U.S. household spent more than $2,600 on gasoline last year, a 111 percent increase over the last decade

Washington, D.C. – Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) released a report today analyzing new government data that finds that despite record domestic oil production, U.S. consumer spending on gasoline remained near all-time highs last year.

Recent data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) indicates that the average U.S. household spent more than $2,600 on gasoline in 2013 for the third consecutive year - a 111 percent increase from the $1,235 spent in 2002. Moreover, gasoline spending increased by an average of 8 percent annually over the past decade, while non-gasoline discretionary spending increased by an average of 1 percent annually.

Closely correlating with global crude oil prices, not domestic crude streams, increased U.S. gasoline spending proves a result of stubbornly high global oil prices and American consumers' near-complete reliance on oil as a transportation fuel. Despite a retreat from historical highs in 2013, Brent crude oil prices remained elevated, averaging $108 per barrel, and as a result, U.S. gasoline prices declined little in 2013 from 2012.

"Surging domestic oil production has benefited the American economy in a number of ways; however, the new data from BLS shows that relief from gasoline spending for typical consumers has not been one of them," said SAFE's Executive Vice President, Sam Ori. "Until there is greater fuel competition in the transportation sector, Americans will continue to pay the global price for oil, and high fuel costs will continue to burden the American economy."

Key findings from the report include:

- The average American household spent more than $2,600 on gasoline last year, in line with data for 2011 and 2012, representing an increase of 111 percent from 2002 levels.

- Spending on gasoline increased by an average of 8 percent annually over the past decade, while (non-gasoline) discretionary spending increased by an average of just 1 percent annually.

- The burden of higher fuel prices was felt most strongly by lower income households. The lowest quintile spent almost 13 percent of pre-tax income on gasoline, compared to just 2.5 percent for the highest quintile. Geographically, gasoline spending was highest in rural Midwestern states and lowest in more densely populated states along the coasts.

- BLS data suggests that, while the U.S. oil boom has generated sizeable macroeconomic benefits, including a reduced trade deficit, higher overall domestic investment, and job growth in extractive industries, consumers have yet to benefit in any sustained way at the pump. U.S. gasoline prices most closely correlate with global crude streams, leaving consumers directly exposed to events in the global oil market.

- Advancements in alternative fuel vehicles provide reason to be optimistic that spending on transportation fuels will decline in the future. The price of electric vehicles (EVs) is falling and attributes like range and recharging time continue to improve. In the sub-compact segment, EVs will reach cost parity with conventional internal combustion engine vehicles by 2016.

About Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE)

Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) is a nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America's dependence on oil and improve U.S. energy security to bolster national security and strengthen the economy. SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in fuel efficiency, and in the long-term, breaking oil's stranglehold on the transportation sector through alternatives like natural gas for heavy-duty trucks and plug-in electric vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing U.S. oil dependence.

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