Futures & Commodities

Think Oil Is Expensive? Not Even Close

Reuters
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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
   

NOTE:
    1861-1944 - U.S. average
    1945-1983 - Arabian Light posted at Ras Tanura
    1984-present day - Brent dated
    +2007 U.S. crude