A variation on Hannah Fairfield’s classic connected scatterplot on gas prices. Shows the different trends for cost as “dollars per gallon” and cost as “dollars per mile.” The peaks and valleys are similar, but factoring in steadily increasing fuel efficiency makes recent gas price increases look less extreme relative to to the 1979 energy crisis and earlier years.
Miles per capita computed from US Census population estimates and FWHA’s Vehicle Miles Traveled. Fuel prices per gallon from Table 9.4 of the EIA’s Energy Review. Prices look a little different than the NYT chart because it uses the average regular grade price throughout (presumably leaded for earlier years and unleaded for later years), whereas this uses the broadest average available for a year: regular leaded through 1975, regular unleaded for 1976-77, and all grades for 1978-2013. Fuel prices per mile computed as price per gallon divided by overall fleet efficiency, which is calculated using miles driven and EIA data on barrels of finished motor fuel supplied per day. All prices in 2014 dollars.