Saturday, May 02, 2009

Gas is Cheaper Today Than the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and First Half of 1980s

The chart above shows the real price of gasoline (in 2008 dollars), annually from 1919 to 2009 using data from the Energy Information Administration (data here). For 2009, the average gas price from January to April was $1.93 per gallon, which is equal to or lower than the average price of gas in every year since 1919, except for 1973 ($1.88) and the 18-year period from 1986 to 2003 (see shaded areas above).

In other words, during 72% of the years since 1919 (72 years out of 91), the real price of gasoline was higher than the average price so far in 2009. Compared to the real retail price today, gas was more expensive in the decades of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s (except for one year), and the first half of the 1980s.


At 5/03/2009 11:22 AM, Anonymous AMATI NONYMUS said...

Although I am not a technical analyst, I don't play one on TV. But isn't that a beautiful triple-top? And didn't that 008 peak follow natural gas peak of 005 so pretty? Petroleum has very long lag between assembly of rig and pumping of payload.

At 5/04/2009 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment is to the original post: CONTEXT PLEASE! "Real dollars" means what? OK, values expressed in current dollars. And how does that compare to the buying power of dollars in 1920? Isnt that why we have this funny little thing called the Consumer Price Index?

At 5/04/2009 8:24 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Anonymous: The gas prices in the chart are inflation-adjusted, real, constant 2008 dollars.

At 5/04/2009 1:24 PM, Anonymous Bradley said...

What's next/ Houses have never been this cheap! They don't bother to tell you that the dollar has lost 90% of it's value in the last 90 years! Saw these type of articles in old copies of the newspapers during trhe depression. I think the writer has been snifing to much gas.


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