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History of Gas Prices

Kritika Parwani Aug 17, 2020
With the ever-changing gas prices affecting everyone, all of us want to know why gas prices are rising? To understand this we will have to read about history of gas prices.

Gas Prices Over the Years

Decade Average Price(per gallon)
1950 - 1959 $0.19 to $0.26
1960 - 1969 $0.31 to $0.35
1970 - 1979 $0.36 to a little less than $1
1980 - 1989 About $1
1990 - 1999 About $1.10
2000 - 2009 $1.65 to $4
▣ According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average annual miles per person in America was 13, 476. The amount of traffic on the roads clearly indicates the need for gas, and a shortage of gas can bring America almost to a standstill.
▣ Today the world is being supplied with 99 million barrels of oil per day. United States alone is supplied with 20 million barrels of oil per day. Also, no major oilfields have been discovered since the 1970's.  Most of the oilfields are at their peak, where supply is concerned and with the ever-increasing demand for gas, prices will keep increasing.

Gas Prices: A Brief History

In the fifties, the gas prices in United States were extremely cheap. The main reason for this was that United States did not have to import oil from any other country, it was self sufficient.
The average price of gas was around $0.19 to $0.26 per gallon. Though it might seem really inexpensive, we have to take into consideration the pay scale and the value of a dollar in those days. Experts believe that today's gas prices, even with the recent rise, is the same, if not less than what people used to pay in the 1950s.
In the 1970s the price of gas was between $0.36 to a little under $1. It never exceeded $1 even during the infamous 1970s oil crisis, the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal. Though it was difficult to find gas during that time, the price was almost always constant. This was mainly due to government price control.
In the 1980's things changed for the better. The price of gas was increased though only nominally. You could get a gallon of gas for just a little above $1 and you could also fill up your car anywhere. For a few years after 1980, the prices remained stable except during the time of Iran-Iraq war, where the prices skyrocketed, but then slowly settled down.
The price of gas in 1980's was actually cheaper than getting a burger or watching a movie. Until 2005, the prices actually remained stable. The prices in 2005 increased due to a number of reasons like hurricane Katrina and increase in the price of crude oils.
On 5th September 2005, the prices were as high as $3.07 per gallon. But by December 2005 it settled down. The highest recorded price per barrel maximum of $147.02 was reached on July 11, 2008. This affected everyone to a great extent and people started driving less and using public transport. But in December 2008, the prices dropped to $1.65 a gallon.
While cars are our lifelines, it would be a great thing for the environment, if each of us could make a conscious effort to save our resources by carpooling or by coming up with ways to improve gas mileage or looking into alternative fuel options.