Monday, April 12, 2004

Record Use of "RECORD GAS PRICE" Rhetoric

Have you heard this one lately, whether on NPR (Bob Edwards being the notorious bewb that he is), your daily paper, CNN, Fox, etc? It appears to be the meme du jour around the blogosphere as well. Well, I'm tired of it. For those who are inclined, check this out.

Fun facts: in 1960, gas was 31 cents a gallon (regular, leaded), but in today's dollars, that would be $1.95. In 1980, it was $1.25 (unleaded, regular), or $2.82 in $2004. 1990, $1.16, or $1.65 today. The latest average is $1.72. There has also been a significant increase in miles per gallon. So cost per mile is lower on that account. If you're one of those enviro wackos, you don't want lower gas prices.

Did you get that? When adjusted for inflation, which anyone not attempting to make a complete fool of himself should do, we are nowhere near 'record' price levels. Absolute prices mean jack crap. Next time you hear someone use this, kick him/her in the shin (figuratively, of course). You might also want to mention that increased regulation, increased additives, less refining capacity, increased demand, etc are all placing upward pressure on the price of gas, not just the high price of oil.

And as with most stats, it's probably best to make comparisons against historical averages, something this notorious bewb should certainly consider doing, especially given his profession. More here.

Thanks to Econopundit for the pointer.

Have some fun with prices: Inflation Calculator

UPDATE: For those of you visual learners, try this on for size:

UPDATE2: Image removed for size purposes.