How do recent gasoline prices compare with historical prices?
There are two ways to compare recent gasoline prices with historical prices: the nominal price or the real price. The price actually paid at the pump is the nominal price. The real price is the price that is adjusted to remove the effect of changes in the value of the dollar over time. Real prices usually reflect the value of the dollar relative to a base year.
The graph at the right shows the average annual nominal and real prices of retail regular grade gasoline from 1979 through 2017. The real price is based on the value of the dollar in January 2018. The graph also shows the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) forecast for average annual prices for 2018 and 2019 in the January 2018 Short-Term Energy Outlook.
EIA's publications that provide historical, recent, and projected retail gasoline prices (includes federal, state, and local taxes) are
- Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update—most recent available and historical U.S. weekly (and average monthly and annual) nominal prices.
- Short-Term Energy Outlook—monthly forecasts for average monthly and annual U.S. retail regular grade gasoline prices for the current year and the next year. The Real Prices Viewer shows nominal and real prices.
- Annual Energy Outlook—projections for average annual U.S. retail gasoline prices out to the year 2050 are available in Table 12. The projected prices are the average for all gasoline grades.