Think Oil Is Expensive? Not Even Close
U.S. oil surged to a nominal all-time high of $93.20 a barrel on Monday, boosting the annual average price to $67.99.
Adjusted for inflation, that is still below the $101.70 peak hit in April 1980, according to the International Energy Agency, a year after the Iranian revolution. The average price for that year was $90.46 in today's dollars, still well above this year's average price.
The following table from the BP Statistical Review picks out key moments in oil market history. It gives average annual dollar-denominated oil prices in money of the day and the equivalent price in 2006 money. Prices are in dollars a barrel.
Year Money of Inflation
the day adjusted
1864 - Pennsylvania oil boom $8.06 $104.35
1876 - Russian oil exports start 2.56 48.64
1948 - Rebuilding post World War Two 1.99 16.74
1974 - Arab oil embargo 11.58 47.54
1979 - Iranian revolution 31.61 88.13
1980 - Iran-Iraq war starts 36.83 90.46
1990 - Iraq's invasion of Kuwait 23.73 36.76
1998 - Asian economic crisis 12.72 16.22
2003 - China 2nd biggest oil consumer 38.27 40.83
+2007 Year-to-date average 67.38 67.38
1861-1944 - U.S. average
1945-1983 - Arabian Light posted at Ras Tanura
1984-present day - Brent dated
+2007 U.S. crude