Sunday, March 16, 2008

Historical perspective

I was browsing an antique mall yesterday and came across some old advertising pieces, magazine ads under plastic and for sale as collectibles.

One was for the 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo, a medium-priced and very comfortable car of that era, well equipped-- and listed at $3,300.

Roll forward to 37 years later, and the same sort of car, medium size and well equipped, sells for almost ten times as much.

So how much was gasoline, more or less, in the same year?

About 35 cents a gallon.

Roll forward to 37 years later, and gasoline costs (gasp!) almost ten times as much.

For all who moan and groan about gas prices and the evil oil companies, please note that gasoline costs no more than anything else, adjusted for inflation.


John Rich said...

Dave, both cars and fuel have far exceeded average rate of inflation over the period 1971-3008.

But there's been just over a factor of five in general inflation since 1971.* The largest single factor for gasoline outpacing inflation is that vast right-wing conspiracy known as the free market. Simple supply and demand.

Also relevant is the fact that we've not allowed any new gasoline refineries (a key node in the supply of gasoline) in our country since 1979.

You’re correct that it’s not those (according to the liberal media) greedy oil companies. Neither is it the tired old mantra sung by idiotarians of “no blood for oil.”

*Bureau of Labor Statistics data for urban areas may be found at

Anonymous said...

My point stands, John. The price of gasoline can be explained by the obvious, and doesn't require conspiracies. And it is not such an exception to the general history of prices of other things that it calls attention to itself.

Unless you're using Zimbabwean money or something. :-)

Big Dave