Drivers paid an average of $3.60 per gallon in 2012, exceeding the previous average high of $3.51 in 2011, AAA said.
“However, despite record pump prices, 2012 was not the most expensive year for motorists, as demand destruction due to a still-weak U.S. economy and increases in fuel economy offset the higher price per gallon,” AAA said.
The average household consuming 1,140 gallons of gasoline paid $4,112 in 2012, according to AAA data. That's down slightly from an average of $4,127 a year earlier, when the typical household used 1,174 gallons of gasoline.
“We're spending a little bit less for fuel even though the price is higher because we're using less of it,” Mai said.