$305 on gas this month - Bah! Humbug!

chart_gas_prices.top.gifAmericans are paying 76% more this December than they did in 2008. Rural areas feel the most pain. By Steve Hargreaves, Senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Holiday shoppers will need to bump up their budget for one purchase this year, and they can't even put it under the tree: gasoline.

The price of fuel is up 13.6% from last December and 76% higher from December 2008, according to a new study from the Oil Price Information Service.

Nationwide, drivers are estimated to spend $305 on gasoline in December.

Who's hardest hit? People in Montana.

Montana households are estimated to spend over $449 on gas in December, representing a 12.74% slice of their overall household budget.

Residents of New York are getting off relatively easy. Households there are estimated to spend around $214 on gas in December, just 4.71% of their household income. Other low-cost states include Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada and Illinois.

It's common that people in rural states spend a higher percent of their salary on gas, as incomes tend to be lower. They also often have further to drive for work, and tend to buy larger vehicles.

The study's authors noted high fuel prices are likely to have a big effect on other things people purchase.

"Rising gas prices are more relevant to household budgets than a cursory glance at numbers might indicate," said the report, pointing to a forthcoming study. "Higher fuel prices motivate stunning behavioral changes in shopping patterns, and influence choices for premium versus discount merchandise."

And don't expect much relief going forward.

Based on the current high price of crude oil and historical trends, the authors say gasoline prices in the $3.75 range could be a reality by spring. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,122.01 0.00 0.00%
Nasdaq 4,569.62 -1.02 -0.02%
S&P 500 2,000.12 0.10 0.00%
Treasuries 2.36 -0.03 -1.25%
Data as of 11:56pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.20 -0.13 -0.80%
Apple Inc 102.13 1.24 1.23%
Facebook Inc 74.63 -1.33 -1.75%
Yahoo! Inc 38.18 0.39 1.03%
Pfizer Inc 29.49 0.28 0.96%
Data as of 4:02pm ET

Sections

Staggering interest from the Chinese in an immigration program has led the U.S. to run out of available visas for the first time ever. More

Former Fed chief Ben Bernanke believes the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, topping even the Great Depression. More

Snapchat has gotten a $20 million funding round from Kleiner Perkins, valuing the company at $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. More

Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.