Compared with 2008, gas prices up in Kansas City

This holiday season make sure your shopping list leaves enough money to buy gas.

Last year the economy was melting down, and about the only thing to be thankful for was cheap gasoline, at times less than $1.50 a gallon in Kansas City.

That break, following the summer’s record $4-a-gallon prices, gave most families hundreds of extra dollars to celebrate the holidays. Prices were expected to stay low, too, because supplies were good and the weak economy was holding down demand for gas.

But as anyone who has filled up recently knows, those super-low prices are Christmas Past.

Gasoline is about 60 percent more expensive than a year ago, up almost $1 a gallon in the area. That soaks up an extra $100 a month for the average family, and an extra $10 billion of the country’s monthly disposable income, about 1 percent.

That is enough to create some headwind for other consumer spending and holiday shopping, said Mine Yucel, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. The effect of the higher fuel prices is magnified for the unemployed and others struggling to get by in the current economy.

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