A few weeks ago I showed energy consumption as a share of nominal personal consumption expenditures (PCE ) and though it would be interesting to follow up with food and energy as a share of PCE. From 1959 to 1999 food and energy fell from about 33% of PCE to 17.5%. This almost 50% drop in food and energy as a share of spending reflected several things. But overall it probably reflect rising standards of living as the fall allowed consumers to spend their income on other things. But note that since 1999 food and energy have been absorbing a rising share of total consumption. Something similar happened in the 1970s when the real price of food and energy also rose.
One way consumers adjust to higher energy prices or a lower standard of living is to delay purchasing a new car. This is such a strong tendency that energy and autos combined account for almost a constant share of PCE..