As long as everyone is talking about gasoline prices, here’s another way to think about it: How long does the average American worker have to work in order to buy one gallon of regular gas?

We’ll answer that in two steps.

First, here’s a chart of average hourly earnings divided by the price of an average gallon of gasoline.

**The number of gallons of gas you can get from an hour of work**.

Photo: FRED

So right off the bat you see how workers have fallen behind on this measure since the late 90s.

In the late 90s, an hour of work bought you 14 gallons of gas. Today, an hour of work gets you 6 gallons of gas.

Now to take it another step further, and see how long it takes to buy one gallon of gas, you just have to divide this number into 60.

**How many minutes it takes to buy a gallon of gas**.

So in the late 90s, you could earn one gallon of gas in just over 4 minutes.

Today you have to work for 10 minutes to buy a gallon of gas.

Now we’ll just take it another step further. Assuming a gas tank requires 20 gallons to be full, we can just multiply by this by 20, and see that it will take the average worker over 3 hours now to fill up a tank of gas.

Back in the day, it took just 80 minutes.

**How many minutes of work it takes to fill up your gas tank**

And here’s one last chart. Assuming you have to fill up your car 50 times per year, then it means you spend about 170 hours every year just to fill up your car.

*The number of hours it takes to buy a year’s worth of gas.*

And if you work 2000 hours per year, then it means that about 8.5% of your working hours just go to filling your gas tank

*The percentage of work time you spend on buying gas.*

And finally, one last chart.

Let’s assume that the average person is awake for 5840 hours per year (16 hours a day times 365). Then it turns out that 3% of every waking hour is spent towards working to just fill up your car.

* The percentage of your waking life devoted to working to afford gasoline*.

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