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U.S. Households Spend Record $4K Plus on Fuel This Year

NATIONAL REPORT -- The average U.S. household will have spent a record $4,155 to fill up their vehicles this year when 2011 comes to a close, the Associated Press reported. That amount equates to $1 out of every $12 earned in median household income being spent on gasoline -- the highest proportion since 1981, when oil prices rocketed following tensions in the Middle East.

According to media reports, much of the pain was due to the average of $3.53 paid per gallon at the pump this year. That's an increase of 76 cents per gallon -- or 21.5 percent compared to 2010.

Mid-September marked the high-water point of the year, when consumers paid an average of $3.65 per regular gallon. Traditionally, after Labor Day, gasoline prices tend to moderate due to reduced fuel demand during colder months. This year was no exception.

Although recent reports issued by AAA and Consumer Reports have pointed out that fuel prices have receded over the past few months to a current average of $3.21 a gallon, 2011 will still mark not only the most expensive year, but also the highest price ever paid for gasoline in the month of November at $3.41 a gallon.

2011 will not be remembered for one distinction, however. The average price paid per gallon did not even approach the U.S. all-time high of $4.11 per regular gallon, which was reached during the depths of 2008's economic crisis.

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