Looks like employees’ take-home pay isn’t going to go as far this winter – literally.
Analysts are warning not to expect any relief from high gas prices anytime soon.
Gasoline purchases have already used up a big chunk (7.6%) of median household income in 2010, according to a new study from business management advisory firm PortiaGroup.
That’s more than the 6.5% of income it soaked up last year — and much more than the 4.2% it used up in 2008.
When all is said an done this holiday season, the average U.S. household is expected to have spent about $305 on gasoline in December alone.
That’s nearly 14% more than households paid for fuel last December and 76% more than December of 2008.
No end in sight
Believe it or not, the news gets worse.
The national average for regular gasoline (currently $2.98 per gallon) is expected by some to keep climbing through winter and straight on until peak driving season — perhaps reaching as high as $4 per gallon in some states.
That’s got to send shivers down the backs of employees who have long commutes.
Some of the current pump prices by city:
- San Francisco — $3.29
- Seattle — $3.17
- New York City — $3.12
- Chicago — $3.11
- Miami — $3.09
- Cleveland — $2.96
- Houston — $2.80
- Denver — $2.72
How to ease the burden
Tight budgets have made increasing employee pay very difficult recently, putting pressure on employers to find other ways to keep morale up. This news can only add to that pressure.
But there are some things employers can do to help get employees through these tight times with money in still their pockets.
For example, companies can consider offering more telecommuting options — at least until gas prices come down a little. Allowing employees to work from home just twice a month will cut their gas expenses by nearly 10%.
It could be a benefit that’s offered to top performers — thus creating not only a morale booster, but an incentive for all employees to increase their performance.