Wal-Mart recently blamed high gas prices for an eighth straight quarter of lower sales in the United States. Target said gas prices were hurting sales of clothes. Every 50-cent jump in the cost of gasoline takes $70 billion out of the U.S. economy over the course of a year.
The tourism industry is bracing for an uncertain summer. AAA predicts the typical family will spend $692 on its vacation, down 14 percent from $809 last year. Many of the people surveyed said they are planning shorter trips and expect to pinch pennies when they arrive.
The median household income in the U.S. before taxes is just below $50,000, or about $4,150 per month. The $369 that families spent last month on gas represented 8.9 percent of monthly household income.
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