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Gas Prices: 3 Reasons To Stay Calm

Note: The photo shows a clever Toyota ad, not an actual gas pump that's gone haywire. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In his latest New York Times Magazine column, Adam Davidson questions the populist outrage over rising gas prices. "Americans may protest loudly," Davidson writes, "but their economic behavior indicates a remarkable indifference to the price of oil." Read the full column here.

If gas prices still give you the jitters, here are three more reasons to remain calm:

1) Gas prices are twice as high in Europe

prices per gallon worldwide

Europeans pay a hefty tax at the pump. They adjusted to $5 a gallon gas a long time ago. Today, they're paying as much as $8 a gallon.

2) We've been here before

Gas prices per gallon over time


Prices in constant, 2012 dollars.

Gas prices were even higher in 2008 than they are today.

3) Americans haven't cut down on leisure spending

If high gas prices are taking a bite out of our budgets, it's not showing up in our leisure spending. This study by Lutz Kilian at the University of Michigan and Paul Edelstein of IHS Global Insight finds, "no significant effect on the consumption of movies, bowling and billiard[s], casino gambling and only insignificant declines for recreational camps, sightseeing, spectator sports and spectator amusements."