A woman pumps gas at a station in Falls Church, Virginia, December 16, 2014. Credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE | REUTERS

Summer time is a time of travel, and for Mainers, that means filling up gas tanks.

Gas prices have been low in recent months, falling below $2.19 during late January and early February, according to GasBuddy.com. But with the roads clear and the sun shining, car trips — and gas — become more of an expenditure.

When there’s high demand, prices go up.

In the past month, the average gas price in Maine has risen 10 cents, from $2.70 per gallon to $2.80 per gallon. This number is based off information from more than 1,000 gas stations in the state, compiled by GasBuddy.com. The current national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.79.

While the rise in gas prices during the summer time is to be expected, there’s always the question of whether they will stay at an increased price, or lower along with the temperature.

Whether they do or don’t, it’s still important to put gas prices into context. Because transportation is so important to our everyday goings-on, supported by our car-centered infrastructure, it’s difficult for Americans — Mainers included — to not spend money on gas, regardless of the price tag.

That’s exactly what this Brookings chart below shows. Even as gas prices rise, we buy the same amount of gas, as measured relative to all our other expenses.

gasoline prices
Credit: Courtesy of Brookings

While this chart may seem depressing, gas spending may not negatively impact your finances as much as you think it does.

categories of expense

As the Brookings chart above shows, in the last 25 years, gas only takes up about 5 percent of spending space, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. When put into perspective, this is a much lower percentage than expenditures of high importance — like housing.