Gas prices, anyone?

Auto, Personal finance

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I was thrilled to see that during the week I was gone, gas prices for premium gas in the SF Bay area had shot to $3.41. And wouldn’t you know it, our new car requires that octane. Wondering how things looked for the rest of the country (in TN where I was, premium is still below $3), I went to the EIA, or Energy Information Administration, a.k.a. the official government energy statistics of the US government, to check out the data.

Turns out of the major metro areas listed, average gas prices in San Francisco has actually grown the least over the last 3 years. The most? Houston. Check out the graph below:
Gas prices over last 3 years for 4 cities

Keep in mind that this is probably because SF prices already started way high. Here’s a summary table of the starting and ending gas prices in the four metro cities I plotted:

  May 2003 April 2006
Boston $1.555 $2.724
Houston $1.410 $2.782
San Francisco $1.955 $2.940
Seattle $1.574 $2.771

So, California’s expensive to begin with. No surprise there. Does that them mean the high gas prices are more due to taxes and things less related to supply and demand than in other cities? And the bigger question, if the cost of living is so high here, is the culture and climate worth the sacrifice? (Everyone I’ve met here would resoundly respond with a yes….)


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