From the Star Tribune: Adjusting for inflation, gasoline prices in 1981 were the equivalent of nearly $3 a gallon now. Earlier generations didn’t have it any better — fueling a Model-T in 1919 cost $2.75 a gallon in today’s dollars. “No question about it, in the long term gas prices are very much at the bottom by historical standards,” said Cyrus Bina, an economist at the University of Minnesota/Morris and a student of energy markets.
Compared with the prices of most consumer goods, gasoline prices have been falling in relative terms for generations. To buy 1,000 gallons of gasoline at today’s prices requires less than 6 percent of per capita personal income, adjusted for inflation. In 1981, the year gas prices peaked, the same quantity would have extracted 14 percent of personal income. Why are so many people seething about gas prices?
Probably because they’re constantly told how low inflation is.