Getting Angry at the Average Gas Price

The price of gas is news today. Let me clarify ... the national average price of gas is news today.

That's always a problem with this kind of story. You report the average, but some people don't get that it's an average. You get emails along the lines of "Whaddya mean only $4!!!! I've been paying more than $5 in (insert location here ... usually somewhere in California)." And sure, people are paying more in some places. And less in others.

You get similar comments in housing statistic stories too. There it is usually the median price that trips people up. ("You could never find a home for that price here in (again, insert location)").

But you can understand the emotion. Numbers stories immediately invite personal comparison. And if the comparison isn't good, you get a little angry. So naturally if you've been paying $5 a gallon and suddenly $4 a gallon is news, you could feel a little put upon.