NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices are once again dominating the national debate.But despite rhetoric, high gas prices aren't hurting as much as they used to.
In 1981, when oil prices spiked following the Iranian Revolution, gasoline represented nearly 5% of the nation's spending, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2011, only 3.7% of spending went to gas, even though prices averaged at their highest level ever that year.
In addition to spending less, we're driving more than ever -- 90% more than compared to the early '80s, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
This isn't to say high gas prices don't hurt -- they do, especially for people living paycheck-to-paycheck or those that drive a lot.
But for the average American household, which has an income of over $62,000 a year, the increase in gas prices represents a relatively small portion of total spending.Got that? I guess if you're not a $62,000 per year "average" American because you're unemployed or because you just don't measure up, then maybe, just maybe, high gasoline prices actually are as bad as you think. What ever happened to Democrats going into high dudgeon when any group of Americans, regardless of how small the number, or the circumstances, were not enjoying the American dream?
Oh yeah, that only applies when a Republican is in the White House.