What’s the impact of gas prices on retail sales?

Gas pump signIt is estimated that every penny increase in gasoline translates into approximately $1 billion in household energy consumption. I realize there is some economic benefit derived from energy consumption however the negative effect on discretionary consumer spending is far greater than the benefit. The key question is to what extent does the price of gasoline effect consumer spending in a fragile economy. If you believe the billion dollar figure per penny of increase, the cost has been astronomical. Whatever side of the political spectrum you are on every president since Eisenhower has talked about the need for us to become energy independent with little or no comprehensive policy. When you look at the picture of the gas pumps there are two questions I have: When were those the prices and how much has this cost the economy?