American drivers had it rough back in 1981. The average price of gasoline spiked to $1.353 a gallon that year — up from $1.221 in 1980 and more than double the price just three years earlier. Adjusted for inflation, the average price of gas in 1981 would have equaled $2.421 a gallon in 2020.
To which drivers in 2022 can only say: Give us that deal! If only life were like that.
As it stands, the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States right now is $4.865, according to AAA. That’s a new all-time high not only on a national level but in all 50 states. The new high eclipses the previous record of $4.103 set in 2008.
Prices are continuing to move much higher because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, especially as the EU, whose consumption of Russian oil is around 40% of overall use, announced a speed up in the transition to alternative sources and fuels. As GOBankingRates previously reported, U.S. gas prices have gone up more than 45 cents per gallon since the conflict began.
Older drivers will remember a time when $5-a-gallon gas sounded like the stuff of science fiction. The average national price for a full year didn’t even push about $2 a gallon until 2005, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator website. Prior to 2021, the yearly average exceeded $3 a gallon only five times: in 2008 and from 2011 to 2014.