Latinos Disproportionately Affected By Rising Gas Prices

According to a report by the Center for American Progress Latino families and businesses have been the hardest his by soaring gasoline prices.

The report cites a poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in which

83 percent of Latinos in that heavily car-dependent state name gas prices as a source of financial hardship. This comes despite their willingness to carpool and purchase fuel-efficient vehicles.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Latinos devote 5.4 percent of their income before taxes to gasoline and motor oil expenditures.
  • In 2009 Latinos on average spent a full percentage more of their income on gasoline and motor oil than the rest of the population.
  • California Latinos are the least likely to report commuting alone to work.
  • 81 percent of Latinos are likely to have considered buying a more fuel-efficient car as a result of gas prices.

Add to this the effects of the recession:

“[The percentage increase in unemployment] was highest among foreign-born Latinos [at] 58.3 percent, or 348,000 persons. Unemployment among native-born Latinos increased by 49.1 percent, [or] 329,000 persons.”

And Latino entrepreneurs haven’t fared any better. The Census reports that in 2007 there were 2.3 million Latino-owned firms in the United states that employed 1.9 million workers.

The vast majority of Latino-owned enterprises are heavily petroleum dependent—almost one-third of these businesses are in construction and repair, maintenance, personal, and laundry service sectors. An additional 200,000 firms are transportation and warehousing enterprises. These types of businesses often rely on gasoline-fueled transportation and heavy machinery.

The good news? That gas prices are expected to drop 50 cents by summer’s end.

Follow Victor Landa on Twitter: @vlanda

[Photo by Lawrence Leonard Gilbert]


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