CHANGE: Annual fuel budget for U.S. families this year? Over $4,000. “Been wondering where a bunch of your money went this year? For the average American family, a higher percentage of the budget was spent on gas in 2011 than at any point since 1981. According to the AP, gas cost most Americans $4,155, or 8.4 percent of the median household income, in 2011. In 1981, the number was 8.8 percent. In the 2000s, a normal number was around 5.7 percent. The culprit, as should not be a surprise, was $3.50-a-gallon gas in a sluggish economy.”