Annual Average Retail Gas Prices (adjusted for inflation) – United States

January 11, 2012
By

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Description:
Annual retail gas prices since 1950, split by Leaded and Unleaded and adjusted for inflation.

Data:
http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/index.cfm

Analysis:

Gas prices have spiked sharply twice since 1949.  Even though $3 per gallon sounds like a lot, when adjusted for inflation, it isn’t that bad when compared with some prior years.  Both trend lines indicate that gas is getting cheaper over time; however, due to the wildly fluctuating prices of unleaded since just before 1980, the ‘least squares’ method of determining the trend line is problematic.

Questions:

  1. Why were the prices for leaded gasoline more stable than unleaded?
  2. Are we due for a major downward trend in prices?
  3. Is the amount of fuel consumption related to the retail price?

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