Gas Prices Minnesota Trend Cu

Chart of the Day: Minnesota Gasoline Prices, 2017-2019

Here’s a chart from a recent Star Tribune article about the price of gasoline. It’s not a great chart, but you can look at it anyway:

Gas Prices Minnesota Trend

First, here’s the article’s main point, which is about how price per gallon has dipped below $2:

The lowest price anywhere in Minnesota on Thursday was $1.88 per gallon at the Sam’s Club in Sartell, according to GasBuddy. At least nine other Minnesota stations had prices at or below $1.91 per gallon, several of which were in the Red Wing and St. Cloud areas.

The average price in the Twin Cities on Thursday was $2.13 per gallon, while the national average was $2.25 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Motor vehicle fuel purchases made up about $2,000 or 3.3 percent of the average U.S. household’s expenditures in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falling gas prices give consumers a bit of an economic cushion, just as soaring prices pinch a household’s budget.

The problem with this chart is that it zooms in on a tiny fraction of time (2 years) and price ($2-$3).

To me, it’s much more interesting to think about gas prices over the long term, and accounting for inflation, etc. We’ve done this many times at over the years.

For example check these out.

The Inflation Adjusted gas price chart, 1918-2012:

Inflation Adjusted Gas Price

Historical and projected gas prices 1985 – 2039:

Gas Prices Real Nominal

Gas price vs. real wage, 1975 – 2015:

Gas By Time By Wage


My favorite kind of analysis, though, looks at how much of the “true cost” of driving car is reflected in the gas price. The answer is “very little”.

One of the priorities of Governor Walz’s administration is to pass a gas tax increase this year.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.