Try as we might, there’s no news in gas prices

It’s a pretty slow time of the year for news so the chances are good you’re going to hear or read a story about rising gas prices over the July 4th holiday.

Why, look! Here’s one now!

“Travelers to pay highest holiday gasoline prices in 6 years,” says Bring Me The News, citing a report from AAA Minnesota.

“Gas prices at six-year high for this time of year,” says the Dayton News, taking a more national look.

The numbers don’t suggest the drama of the headlines. The price of gasoline in Minnesota at the moment is only about a penny more than it was three years ago, but a headline that gas prices are up one cent from three years ago doesn’t exactly take one’s breath away.

Here is the actual data, courtesy of the Energy Information Agency.

2004 $1.765
2005 $2.108
2006 $2.927
2007 $2.935
2008 $3.931
2009 $2.441
2010 $2.686
2011 $3.565
2012 $3.425
2013 $3.385
2014 $3.578


Technically, the prices are the highest since 2008, but that reflects how high the prices were in the pre-economic-meltdown days. In the last four years, gasoline prices have fluctuated in a very narrow, almost statistically insignificant range.

Overnight, the price of gasoline in the Twin Cities dropped to $3.499. Adjusted for inflation, that’s only 3 cents higher than a year ago, 5 cents lower than two years ago.

In fact, look at the chart with prices adjusted for inflation.


Bottom line? Meh.