While Lynne and I (in a previous guest post) have been quick to note that, adjusted for inflation, gasoline prices are not at record high levels, it is the case that current gasoline prices are high by historical standards.
In a letter-to-the-editor published in Sunday’s Washington Post, reader Robert Speir said:
The April 4 editorial “Guzzling Gas, Again” noted, “Gasoline prices when adjusted for inflation aren’t all that high by historical standards.” Actually, after adjusting for inflation, gasoline prices are the highest they’ve been in 20 years. Further, they are 26 percent higher than the average of the past 10 years.
A few other considerations should also enter the discussion – for example, gasoline today is different from the gasoline of 20 or 30 years ago, and a careful comparison across time should account for quality changes. It would be interesting to see an explanation of the trend in gasoline prices that accounted for changes in federal and state taxes, costs and benefits of environmental regulation, and other factors.
Before slamming (Pick your villain: OPEC, Oil companies, Congress, the Bush Administration) for the high price of gasoline, let’s get the facts straight.
[Guest posting by Mike Giberson.]