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Stirk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:40 AM
Original message
How much did gas cost in the 80's?
I keep hearing Republicans bringing up the same talking point lately. They say that gas prices are even lower than they were in the 80's if you adjust for inflation.

Is this true?
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. Yes. The inflation-adjusted peak was about $3.00/gallon.
The nation-wide average hasn't yet hit that, but it's on the way. And I doubt it will stop there. This is different than the 70s. Asian demand is exploding, and it's not going to stop.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. a little googling turned up this chart, not sure how much I trust it, but
it's a start

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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. That seems to agree with the general consensus figures.
I've seen several different values, but they are all within a few cents of $3/gallon.
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. the chart is cherry picking its start and end points. nt.
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. The problem with that graph is that it stops at 2003...
Since gas prices are now around $2.50 on average, if the graph was accurate to the present time, it would show a huge leap at the end of the graph.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
2. If I remember correctly, they were under a $1 for regular.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. Certainly possible -- I remember it being in the $1.10 to 1.40 range
in the early eighties.
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Syncronaut Seven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. If memory serves, $0.59 9/10 when I started driving in 1981.
San Diego, about the same as a pack of smokes.
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Darkhawk32 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Believe it or not, at one point in 1984, gas in Missouri got down to 45c.
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. How much were people making in the '80's?
We still had some factory work available in the 80's. How many of those people are now working for ChinaMart wages?

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gmoney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
7. if you measure inflation based on Malibu real estate...
Oil is now at about $60-$70 a barrel... you know what it was in 1999?







































$10 a barrel (according to NPR "On Point" last night)

Show me how my wages have increased 6x in six years?
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
9. In 2005 dollars, the worst price ever was $86/barrel...
So they're right, in a sense. But a few things get lost in that comparison of today to the 1970s and early 1980s.

First, more people commute to woork today than they did then, and they are commuting a lot further than those that did.

Second, wages have stagnated while inflation has continued at the usual rate. So, it's likely that gas today hurts consumers just as bad if not worse, since their dollars don't do as much as they did then.
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
11. You mean the 80s . .. when REAGAN was President?
Still doesn't change the fact that it's expensive, just as it was back then. Also, do they mention that inflation-adjusted household income for the middle class has pretty much remained STAGNANT since about 1970, despite the fact that collectively the household works longer hours than their 70s counterparts (not by choice either)? Also, do they mention that minimum wage hasn't really changed since the 80s, when you adjust for inflation?
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
14. The only problem with that argument is :
wages have not kept up with inflation. So adjusted for inflation, most working people are paying much more for gasoline.
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grauch Donating Member (32 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. I don't think that's the answer...
...See the economic data here:

Personal Income and Its Disposition
http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/nipa/T2t1l1q+...


Growth in wages has been greater than inflation in recent years, except perhaps for the slow patch in the latter half of 2001 and all of 2002.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. That really doesn't tell me much.
Is there anything there that differentiates between wage earners and personal income? A single CEO getting a 10million dollar package makes up for a lot of minimum wage jobs, but leaves the impression of increased wages for the average.

We know that the rich are getting richer, by obscene amounts, and that the middle class is diminishing - and you can be sure that it's not because they are moving up, rather than down.

My job, with the state of NC, has increase below inflation for the past 5 years - in fact, two of those years there was no increase at all which exacerbated the less-than-inflation raises of the other years. I figure I need a 15% increase just to catch up with inflation.

I don't think I'm atypical.
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grauch Donating Member (32 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. here's another table...
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0104583.html

Median Four-Person Family Income
(in current dollars)

2003 $65,093
...
1980 24,332

The table also has a "Percent change" column -- since this data has already been adjusted for inflation ("in current dollars"), this is growth above inflation.

Median incomes would obviously not be affected by the CEO's $10 million package.
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. median familiy income most certainly is affected by 10M Ceo packages.
perhaps you meant modal family income, which number is never cited, probably because it sucks farts.
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grauch Donating Member (32 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. statistics
Mode is the most frequently appearing number. The "modal family income" would not be a useful number (see Google search results for "modal family income" -- almost no data exists).

Median is the middle number. Since there are a few at the top who earn far more than the rest of the work force, the mean can be skewed toward the higher end, making it appear that the whole workforce is doing better. The median is not skewed by either end -- it is simply the middle number. If the higher end is growing faster than the lower end, it does not affect the middle number. If the middle is moving up, it is an indication that the whole distribution is moving up. This is consistent with the other table I linked to.
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. thanks - you are correct.
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. That isn't 2005 dollars, is it?
Edited on Wed Aug-17-05 01:34 PM by HughBeaumont
Surely you aren't suggesting that Household income has more than doubled since 1980? Because it hasn't. Not only that, the household works longer hours (that is, there are far-fewer single-earner households now).

On edit - the link that I have points out the stagnancy in WAGES, not household income. Still doesn't change the fact that household income has not kept up with the rising cost of living.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. Bingo.
The Great Cull begins.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
15. Under a buck a gallon.
I remember, because my Daddy swore a blue streak the first time he had to pay over a dollar a gallon for gas, which was at the begining of the gulf war. As a matter of fact, a single parent like him could afford an hours commute in a gas guzzling old Impala so gas prices relative to income were higher then too.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
16. Yeah, and the economy was in the toilet the entire decade
Thanks for bringing it back Repugs!
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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
19. t'was only 89 cents when we last had a democratic president
Edited on Wed Aug-17-05 12:34 PM by Adenoid_Hynkel
inflation, my ass, limbaugh!
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
22. About $1.20 in 1980, when I started driving
While the hostage crisis was going on during the last part of Carter's presidency, the prices rose quickly. They dropped about a year later to the .80-.90 level.

I remember-I drove a car (1968 Cutlass F-85) that still took leaded gas, and it was slightly cheaper, although it only got about 5 miles to a gallon.

Just think, Saturday and Sunday, people are going to be cruising Woodward AVE in metro Detroit, driving mile after mile in those gas guzzlers from the 50s and 60s. I don't attend, but when I watch it on tv, you can just see all the gas fumes rising up (it also is usually hot as hell the weekend of the Dream Cruise) over the traffic.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
27. $1.089 on May 25, 1980 Bowling Green, Kentucky.
And that was expensive. Gas was $0.699 in May of 1979.
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Stirk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
28. Thanks for all the great info, everyone.
It's much appreciated.
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