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What Costs More in 2011?

Living in an area with fairly good public transportation — in addition to having an infant who does not like car rides much — I hardly ever drive anymore. I even walk to the grocery store, pushing Claire in her stroller (thank goodness our stroller has a huge bottom compartment that fits 5-6 full grocery bags).

So when I took the car out Friday night and saw that I was running dangerously low on gas, I was in for a rude awakening.

$55 for a full tank of gas??!!!

Apparently this wasn’t that bad, either. Friends tell me that gas prices have actually decreased in the past month, and that they were regularly forking over more than $60.

And this was in the state of New Jersey, where gas prices are relatively low compared to the rest of the country (plus you get free full service!). I can’t imagine how bad it is in states like California, where gas prices have historically been the highest in the country.

I then thought back to a few months ago, when I had read a former student’s Facebook status update:

I remember waiting anxiously to turn sixteen and get my driver’s license. Now that I finally got it, all my allowance goes toward gas money. Wtf!

I had chuckled at this and commented, “I still remember how when I had first started driving, gas was $0.99/gallon. Did I just give away my age?”

Back in those days we could easily fill up a tank for less than $20. (I remember only getting Premium gas too. Now, it’s Regular or nothing.)

Even last year, I think that a trip to the gas station “only” cost $35-40.

I couldn’t help but dig through my Google Reader Shared Items to take a look at this chart again:

Courtesy of one of my favorite informational blogs, Flowing Data, the chart compares the costs of living between the dates of March 2010 and March 2011.

Based on what I recalled about gas prices, I wasn’t surprised to see that the cost of transportation had increased the most (9.8%), with gas prices alone going up 27.5%.

The price of food has gone up too — I remember my mother complaining to me that last year, she was able to purchase an entire month’s worth of groceries for $200, but now, $200 worth of groceries only lasts 2-3 weeks.

Do you find anything surprising or particularly interesting about this chart?

Have you found that the cost of living has significantly increased in the past year relative to inflation?

How much does a full tank of gas cost in your area?