How much do we really spend on gas?

Gas prices are spiking, and a new poll found that seven in 10 of us find the issue very important. For some, it definitely is — long-distance commuters and makers of gas-guzzlers, for instance. But for most of us, a bigger number on the pump makes only a small dent in our annual expenses.

Gas prices through history
Adjusting gas prices for inflation shows that prices have spiked before.

Gas spending and household budget
While the we may be paying a bit more, the portion of income spent
on gas remains a relatively small percentage.

How spending compares
Even during the last peak in 2008, spending on gas was just above 4 percent. Gas spending has stayed pretty consistent as a portion of total spending.

Oil consumption in the future
U.S. energy consumption is projected to grow for at least two decades, and oil consumption is expected to remain steady.

NOTE: Charts may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Energy Information Administration; Department of Energy.
GRAPHIC: Bonnie Berkowitz and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post. Published March 13, 2012.