Cox and Forkum recently linked to this chart that graphs the price of gasoline in the US over a 25 year period, as paid by one particular consumer.
It’s fascinating, because what it says is that when inflation is accounted for, we’re paying less now for gasoline than we did at the height of the 1980 “energy crisis.” Granted, it’s just a hair less, but it’s still LESS. There was gasoline rationing back then. You had to wait in line at the pump, and the attendant would sometimes check your gas gauge and if you still had half a tank or more, he wouldn’t let you fill up.
I got to thinking about that. I remember back when gasoline was $1.20 per gallon (ca 1985-1986). What else could I get for $1.20? Well… I could get a double-cheesburger, an order of fries, and a drink. At least I THINK that’s what I remember paying.
Last week I paid $2.79 for a gallon of gas. I haven’t had a double-cheeseburger value meal lately, but I think they’re around $2.80.
This probably explains, at least in part, why Americans aren’t curbing their driving despite higher pump-prices. Or maybe it explains why so many of us eat at McDonalds.