For anyone who thinks we are going to see gasoline prices approach $2.00 per gallon ever again, you might want to grab a Snickers® because it is going to be a while, if it happens at all. The last time we saw such low prices was at the start of the current recession. We are still in recovery mode and yet the price of gasoline is again hovering around $3.50 per gallon.
Energy prices tend to fluctuate, kind of like stock prices or the daily weather in the midwest. In the midst of those fluctuations, it is sometimes difficult to discern an overall trend. Sure, gasoline prices are constantly in the news, but it is human nature to best remember only the recent past and to think about the immediate future.
The Nebraska Energy Office tracks daily, monthly, and yearly prices for many energy-related commodities. Verdis spends more time with this data than the average citizen because we often work on energy plans for our clients such as Sarpy County and the City of Papillion, and transportation infrastructure and urban design impacts how much people drive and how much gasoline they must purchase.
Download (.pdf): Omaha Gasoline Price Graph
When looking at regular unleaded gasoline prices in Omaha over the past 13 years, it is very easy to see an upward trend. In fact, the rate of increase in the consumer price index (also known as inflation) from 2000 to 2010 was 26% while the rate of increase of price of gasoline in Omaha was 89%. As supplies become more uncertain and demand for gasoline rises in countries like China, India, and Brazil, you can bet that the price of gasoline will keep climbing amidst all of the fluctuations.
Just for comparison, take a look at regular unleaded prices across the U.S. since 1976 (source: Energy Information Administration):
Download (.pdf): US Gasoline Price Graph