An even better statistic on gasoline household spending

Lynne Kiesling

OK, Manhattan in hand … here’s an analysis that improves on the first one. I’ve taken the ratio of [gasoline price x gasoline quantity] to median household income. The gasoline quantity data are from Table 5.13a of the DOE’s Annual Energy Review 2004, in thousands of barrels.

Table 5.13a reports “estimated petroleum consumption, residential and commercial”. That means that I am overstating the amount of residential petroleum consumption, which at least will bias the results in the direction I want; if I’m overstating residential consumption, I’m overstating residential expenditure, so if it declines, then we know that in truth the decline is even larger than depicted. The analysis would be more precise if I could break them out. But here it is anyway:


If anything, this decline is larger than just the ratio of gas price to median household income. Interesting.

4 thoughts on “An even better statistic on gasoline household spending

  1. This chart tracks exactly the spot price of oil as it started its collapse in 1980 and continued though the 80’s as consumption started to catch up in the early 90’s.

    I’m not sure what the point is that you’re trying to make in this post, that the price of oil has fluctuated over the last 20 years? Hardly news. If the chart went back to the years before the US domestic peak production year of 1970 it might be illuminating.

  2. I found some data on household transportation fuel use at the following link:

    Unfortunately it only goes up to 2001, but what is there (combined with some median income data and gasoline price data I found elsewhere) shows the following:

    In 1988, the median household spent 1.48% of its income on gasoline.

    In 2001, the median household spent 2.5% of its income on gasoline.

    This would seem to contradict the point you were trying to make.

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