Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, September 24, 2010

Price of Gas

I know, everyone complains about the price of gasoline. I remember when I was in high school, that gas could be had for as low as $0.24 per gallon. When I graduated in 1961 the national average was $0.31. In 1991 it was $1.14 per gallon. Now, well you all know what you pay now.

I picked these years as an example for a reason. I was working at Smith International, Inc. in 1991. The price of gas was going up and there were a lot of complaints. All of my co-workers were moaning about how expensive gasoline had become and maybe they should trade in their big old vehicles for teeny weenie little ones. One of them said that he remembered when gas cost only two bits or so a gallon.

Being one of my co-workers in the engineering department, I had a fairly good idea of what his income was. So I explained the situation to him. I told him that most of us at that time (1991) earned a salary from $3500.00 to $4500.00 per month. Let’s take the average of $4000.00 per month. $4000.00 per month times 12 months equal $48,000.00 per year. There are 2080 normal working hours per year, so dividing $48,000.00 by 2080 gives us an income of slightly over $23.00 per hour. Now, how many gallons of gas can you purchase for one hours worth of work? $1.14 divided into $23.00 gives us over 20 gallons per hour of work. That is a sizable amount.

Now let’s look at the early 1960’s. During summer vacations from college I worked the fist summer for $0.80 per hour, the second summer for $0.90 per hour, and the third summer $1.00 per hour. Using the average of $0.90 per hour and $0.31 per gallon in the above formulas gives us less than 3 gallons per hour of work.

I got a better job after that and my hourly income jumped to $2.10 per hour and gas prices went way up to $0.35 per gallon. This calculates out to 6 gallons per hour of work.

Now tell me if gasoline is really so expensive. Go ahead; figure it out for your income and today’s price. Then go back in your working career as far as you can remember and check it then. How does it compare to other products? When gas was 35 cents a gallon, how much was bread or milk or meat. Everything is relative. Let us not over react.

Don't forget to wish Billy Bob a happy birthday today.


  1. I remember gas price wars and getting gas for .19$/galloon, shoot, $5 bucks worth would allow us to "cruise" all Friday night!! :-) that had to be say 1965

  2. Yep Ben, I remember that, too, but used the yearly national average for the prices I quoted. My 57 Chevy convertible burned a lot of the "cheap" gas :-)

  3. happy stinkin birthday billy bob. lol