Are Gasoline Prices Out of Line

Thought you might be interested in my mental wanderings and wonderings.

At 70, on a fixed income, full of experiences and skeptical of the media and the concentrated attack on oil companies (wouldn't it be nice if we fought illegal immigration so earnestly), I decided to do some fact finding on my own.

I started driving in 1953 - and thought my research could begin there, but it turns out 1955 was an easier year with which to locate data.

I looked at only 14 things. Minimum wage, social security deduction, car prices, home price, oil imports, GNP, rents, gas taxes and all those things that I understand. I collected data from reliable sources and used 1955 dollars in 1955 and 2005 dollars in 2005 (i.e. no tricks with adjustment for inflation).

Nothing went down, and some items increased by a factor of 40. The median increase was 12. Gasoline has increased only 13.6 - certainly not the huge, overpowering burden that so many talk about.


Item 1955 (a) 2006/7 (b) Ratio (b/a)
1000 gal gas as % salary 5.6% 7.7%
1.4
Car as % of salary 47% 70%
1.8
House as ratio of salary 2.65 5.3
2
Vehicles (1) 56 million 226 million (in 2003)
4
Wa. gas tax (2) .065 /gal .31 / gal
4.8
Miles driven (3) 605,646,000,000 2,890,893,000,000
4.8
Federal gas tax (4) .02 / gal .183 / gal
9.2
Minimum wage .75 7.93 (Wa.)
10.6
Average wage $3,301 (5) $36,953 (5)
11.2
Average rent $87 (5) $991 (7)
11.4
Crude oil imports (15) 285,421,000 barrels 3,695,971,000
12.9
Gasoline 23 cents (5) $3.10 (10)
13.5
Avg. soc. sec. benefit $69.74 (8) $954.90 (9)
13.7
Average car price $1,950 (5) $28,400 (11)
14.6
Average home cost $10,950 (5) $213,000 (12)
19.5
GNP, current $ (16) 417 billion 12,500 billion
30
Max. Social security contr. $144 (13) $6,045 (14)
41.9

This is research done by Dave Palmer, May 2007. I have no interest or ownership in any of these categories or measurements. My sources, which I can provide copies if asked, are:

(1), (3) www-cta.ornl.gov Population and Vehicle Profile 1950-2003

(2) Wa. Economic Opportunity Institute, Seattle, August 2005

(4) National Council Science and Environment, RL30304

(5) National Average Wage Index http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/AWI.html

(7) Seattle Time 5/7/2007

(8), (9) InfoPlease.com Average Monthly Social Security 1940 - 2004

(10) eia.doe.gov 5/14/2007 Weekly

(12) cnnmoney.com - Average Home Price

(13), (14) Social Security Administration

(15) eia.doe.gov Annual Crude Oil Imports

(16) Department of Commerce, Bureau Economic Analysis


This page created and maintained by Dave Palmer

(-Back to home page-)