Some Perspective on Gasoline Prices

Check out this great post by Michael Munger at Division of Labour. He describes how gas prices have behaved over time in real (inflation adjusted) terms.
Another way to look gasoline prices is to ask: how much gasoline will an hour of my labor purchase? In 1981 the average New Mexican could obtain 5.2 gallons of gasoline for one hour of labor. This year she could obtain 7.4 gallons of gasoline for one hour of labor, 42% more than in 1981(nominal price data from DOE, nominal wage data from BEA).
We never like it when the price of gasoline, or anything else, rises. The average New Mexican would be much happier being able to purchase 10 gallons of gasoline for one hour of labor, as was the case less than one year ago. But let’s put the price of gasoline in perspective; this is not the end of civilization as we know it.
BTW, government itself is responsible for keeping gasoline prices higher than necessary.

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