This year broke all previous records for amount spent by the average American household on gasoline — us car-having suckers spent $4,155! As Jonathan Fahey pointed out in the Associated Press, in an unusually informative and clear-eyed look at the pedestrian impact of the planet's slow-motion oil crunch: "That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981." But hold tight, because 2012 is probably going to be worse. 

Here's what's really crazy about these figures. High gas prices are usually a consequences of economic boom times — more money in our pockets means more spent on gasoline, so the price goes up. But we're still in the middle of a global economic doldrums, and yet prices remain stubbornly high. Almost no one in the mainstream media will tell you why, so I'll let you in on a little non-secret: Oil production remains flat despite spikes in demand and more use than ever in the developing world. There are a ton of reasons for that, both geological and political, but let's get real: we are running out of the stuff, and only the hard-to-get oil is left.

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