Retail gas prices are currently hovering just a few percentage points shy of the all-time high set back in 2008. So we couldn’t think of a better reason to go for a (rather expensive) drive down memory lane to gawk with fondness at the last decade of gas price volatility.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, the most recent average retail gas price of $3.884/gallon is only 6.7% less than the high of $4.165/gallon set back in early July 2008.
Less than six months later the price had dropped back down to a reasonable $1.67/gallon right after Christmas 2008. But that gift didn’t keep on giving and by the end of 2009, prices were nearing $3/gallon again.
We have actually come closer to beating the 2008 record than we are now. In May 2009, retail gas prices averaged $4.018/gallon, before dipping back down to $3.290 in December 2011.
Back in 2007, Consumerist took an in-depth look at the various factors — from the oil fields to the refinery to the pump — that can cause gas prices to soar or sink.
And the EIA has posted a study of seven factors used in determining the price of crude oil. For example, check out this graph that maps the cost of crude oil against fuel production capacity and World GDP: