According to AAA, gas prices have climbed an average of 14 cents a gallon in the past month and about 30 cents a gallon since late November. In states such as Pennsylvania and Florida, prices are an additional 10 cents to 15 cents a gallon higher, and seem to go up each week.
The political pinch that this can cause is often underappreciated. For some people, a few extra dollars at the pump each week is little more than an annoyance. But for hard- pressed middle-class families, and working families living paycheck to paycheck, the soaring numbers at the corner gas station are far more meaningful than the indexes at the New York Stock Exchange.
Consider this: The president just won a victory over congressional Republicans who couldn’t withstand the political consequences of a payroll-tax increase of $40 a month for the average working person. But for an average couple living in suburbia, driving about 1,500 miles per person each month, in two cars that get average gas mileage, a 50-cents-a-gallon increase will cost them about 20 percent more than the payroll- tax cut saves them. In their case, what the president and Congress gives, the gas man takes away.
Copyright 2012 The National Memo