Good news from the oil front

A few days ago, I saw a headline about oil selling at $90 per barrel.  Perhaps that was the peak, because prices are dropping:

Oil prices dropped further Wednesday ahead of the release of weekly U.S. fuel data expected to show crude stocks rose last week.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell 48 cents to $84.79 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midmorning in Singapore. The contract fell 75 cents to settle at $85.27 a barrel Tuesday.

Right now, I’m paying $3.03 at the gas pump.  It’s not the most I’ve ever paid for gas, but I can still remember when prices had a “1” in the dollar place.  (Heck, I can still remember when they had a “0” in the dollar place.)  Which leads me to a question:  Does anyone know how much we were paying for gas in, say 1975, 1977, 1987, and 1997, if those prices were calculated in today’s dollars?  I have a suspicion that we weren’t paying that much less than we are now.  It’s just that, psychologically, we seem to be more traumatized by rising gas prices, than by rising Wheaties’ prices, or rising apple prices, or rising movie ticket prices, or whatever other prices have crept up incrementally thanks to inflation over the last 30, 20 or 10 years.

11 Responses

  1. I remember gas being 33 cents per gallon in 1970-71. And I distinctly remember it being 16-17 cents when I was a kid, but I’m not sure what year it was. I’ll guess 1957-58. I have no idea how much that translates to in today’s dollars. Maybe somebody can help me out with that part.

  2. BW
    There is something called the Inflation Calculator on the Net.
    It states that a product costing $ 3.00 in 2006 would cost $ 0.64 in 1973, the time of the last oil crisis.
    I guess this is why not too many people are screaming about the price of gas. I honestly can not recall what a gallon of gas cost in 1973, but if it was $ 2.00 in 1973, it would be $ 9.41 in 2006
    Al

  3. BW
    There is something called the Inflation Calculator on the Net.
    It states that a product costing $ 3.00 in 2006 would cost $ 0.64 in 1973, the time of the last oil crisis.
    I guess this is why not too many people are screaming about the price of gas. I honestly can not recall what a gallon of gas cost in 1973, but if it was $ 2.00 in 1973, it would be $ 9.41 in 2006
    Al

  4. jr,
    It’s nice to know one isn’t alone. Ah, the good ole days.

  5. I was a callow youth in 1962 and gas cost $.25 then (that would be about $1.18 now). In 1969, after I got out of the service, I lived on a ranch and bought gas in bulk (to fill a 300 gallon tank) at $.32. I believe it was 3-4 cents more at stations. That $.32 would also be about $1.18 now.

  6. I recall that is 1960 gas was 18.9 cents per Gal. My dad was making about $3.00 per hour for a job that now pays $30. Within a year it was up to 35 cents and his pay had not changed. Nobody panicked because they remembered when gas was rationed. It’s all about that Chicken Little thing.

  7. I’m buying gas in Chattanooga for $2.52/gallon and it’s going down. The spike in oil prices did NOTHING to our pump prices here over the last couple of weeks.

    I remember those 1950s and ’60s gas prices too — when we’d drive 20 miles to save a couple of pennies/gallon!! Teenagers!

    Anyhow, the prices in the late ’70s were a LOT higher in terms of our purchasing power than today’s. I had my first job, one car and two kids. We simply didn’t drive unless we HAD to. And I’m a Californian, where driving was recreation, and treated as an inalienable right!! Today, I complain, but the price of gas does not dictate my actions at any level, whatever. Gas is cheap!! I drove under Jimmy Carter’s rule, and I’ve driven all over England. Count your bloody blessings, folks!! 🙂

  8. The primary reason for the price fixation is simple human psychological vulnerability to visual propaganda. You know how people will start believing lies if they hear them enough times? The same applies to anything visually. If they see enough of it visually, they will start to believe.

    In this case, they are seeing gas prices go up literally in front of their eyes, over and over. Everytime they go to buy gas, they see it. Thus this equals the same effect you would get as with a propaganda campaign, Book.

    California, because it has certain air laws, mandates that fuel burn cleaner. This means that both in winter and summer, the gasoline refineries have to switch to expensive mixes for California. Although, whatever you pay for clean air, is simply replaced by forest fire ash and all those Democrats driving gas guzzlers in Cali.

  9. […] last week, I began wondering about these stories, but I focused in my post on prices at the gas pump.  With a little help from my readers, I […]

  10. […] last week, I began wondering about these stories, but I focused in my post on prices at the gas pump. With a little help from my readers, I learned […]

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