All teenagers are well aware that gas prices are high, some to the point where they are not even driving.

According to data from Gulf Oil, teenagers use on average 143 gallons of gasoline per year (average use for a two-car adult family is 1,000 gallons). At current prices, about $3.50 per gallon, that costs teenagers $500 and the average family $3,500.

The average family earns $50,000 per year and the average teenager makes less than $1,500 per year, so today the driving teenager is spending 33 percent of his or her income while the average adult family is spending 7 percent.

Although the adult has greater economic needs, such as housing, medical care and food, a dollar increase in the price for a gallon of gas hurts the teenager more than the adult.

In the face of all this, teens can do the following:

1. Car pool when possible.

2. Drive smaller and more efficient cars.

3. Keep tires properly inflated and in good condition to use less gasoline.

4. Shop for cheaper gasoline and almost never use premium.

Unfortunately almost all alternate fuels today (bio and electric) cost MORE per mile than gasoline.

The one exception might be natural gas vehicles, which cost less per mile but lack convenience: Today there are only 1,000 locations nationwide where you can fuel natural gas cars, versus 165,000 gas stations, and only one car, the Honda Civic, can come out of the showroom nat-gas ready.

Also, natural gas has limited range (150 miles versus 350 miles for a gasoline or diesel car), but a teenager is not as adversely affected by range as an adult.

Over time, there will hopefully be more places to fuel natural gas cars, but for now most teenagers will have to deal with the rising standard gas prices and pay however they can.

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