I didnít want to hijack the other thread with these thoughts so I decided to start a different one. The subject of fuel prices comes up all over the place and usually generates a fair amount of discussion. Anyway, one advantage of having gotten old enough to have been able to pay cash for my Tacoma is the blessing of historical perspective (Especially when you consider that my first hourly job paid $0.65 per hour.)
I pulled the following from U.S. Government sites on the U.S. economy through 2007, specifically as it pertains to gas prices.
Look at relative cost to an unskilled worker to fill up using 1949 dollars. That year the 27 cents it cost for a gallon of gas, took a certain share of the worker's wage. The interesting question is, has the cost as a share or percent of the worker's wage increased or decreased over time? For the wage rate and price of gasoline in other years, this cost has fallen. Since wages have increased faster than the price of gasoline, by 2007 an unskilled worker spends only two-thirds as much, as a percent of wage, for a gallon of gasoline than the 1949 worker. The $2.85 a worker paid in 2007 would be comparable to only 20 cents (in 1949 prices "share" of the wage.
When we use the GDP per capita, the cost has fallen faster. A gallon of gasoline costs around 11 cents a gallon (in 1949 prices) if measured as a "share" of the GDP per capita. This is because in 1949, 27 cents was .015% of per capita GDP, while in 2007, $2.85 was .006%.
Finally, comparing its cost as a share of GDP, we see that in 1949 prices, it is about 6 cents. This means that a gallon gasoline was a four and a half times larger share of output in 1949 than it is today. (ďTodayĒ refering to $2.85).
Since I have the habit of viewing money as an exchange medium for trading my labor for others' goods and services, Iím happy that prices have continued to go down troughout my lifetime. While I love it when I can buy fuel at low prices, Iím still paying less (in percentage of my labor) than I was 45 years ago. We all like to gripe about things like fuel prices but it's pretty hard to find data to validate the gripes.