Pain at the pump

With gas prices the highest they've ever been in February, Americans are spending the payroll tax break designed to get us shopping again on essentials.

Gas prices are on the move…higher. The Automobile Club of Southern California reported the average price of a gallon of gas nationwide hit $3.62 this week. February is typically a month of lower gas prices, so the steady climb in what we pay at the pump has everyone taking note. Even the president of the United States is talking about hit.

“When gas prices go up, it hurts everybody,” President Obama said in a speech in Miami this week. “Everybody who owns a car. Everybody who owns a business. It means you have to stretch a paycheck further.”

The president was hoping the payroll tax break extension would have Americans spending in the spring, but at the current rate of inflation at the gas station, that extra $40 we’ll be getting in our paychecks on average will go right into the tank.

Tess and Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief John Dimsdale discuss the possibility of $4.25 gas nationwide by May. Bye-bye discretionary spending. Click on the audio player above to listen to the interview.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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