Measures of gasoline price change

September 25, 2013

It is particularly important that gasoline price changes be measured accurately and reliably. Fortunately, gasoline is one of the few consumer goods for which there are many sources of price data.

The Beyond the Numbers article, “Measures of gasoline price change”, examines three measures of gasoline prices: the BLS Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) U.S. city average for all types of gasoline, the BLS CPI average price series for all types of gasoline, and the Energy Information Administration Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices for all grades of gasoline.

Major gasoline price measures, December 2002 to December 2012
DateU.S. city average price for all types of gasolineEIA monthly average priceAverage price for all types of gasoline

Dec 2002

100.00100.00100.00

Jan 2003

105.42104.97105.54

Feb 2003

114.15115.82117.30

Mar 2003

121.26121.34123.76

Apr 2003

115.37114.28117.46

May 2003

107.45107.70109.66

Jun 2003

105.48107.28108.73

Jul 2003

106.09108.75109.15

Aug 2003

113.13116.24116.20

Sep 2003

119.91120.43123.01

Oct 2003

111.44112.39114.19

Nov 2003

106.84108.82109.66

Dec 2003

104.13106.51106.80

Jan 2004

110.70112.95114.27

Feb 2004

116.11118.26119.65

Mar 2004

122.48124.42125.78

Apr 2004

126.95128.69130.39

May 2004

138.79141.57142.57

Jun 2004

141.03140.87145.00

Jul 2004

134.19136.74138.12

Aug 2004

131.42134.36135.35

Sep 2004

130.94133.80134.76

Oct 2004

140.28142.90144.58

Nov 2004

139.00141.57143.58

Dec 2004

130.40132.05134.68

Jan 2005

126.34131.21130.65

Feb 2005

132.70136.67137.20

Mar 2005

142.65148.36146.94

Apr 2005

157.41159.90161.96

May 2005

152.81154.30157.26

Jun 2005

150.17153.81155.00

Jul 2005

159.58163.26164.99

Aug 2005

172.51176.98177.75

Sep 2005

201.02206.51208.65

Oct 2005

191.60193.49198.07

Nov 2005

161.61161.16166.75

Dec 2005

150.98155.98156.34

Jan 2006

159.72165.15166.41

Feb 2006

159.38162.77165.41

Mar 2006

165.47172.71171.87

Apr 2006

189.64195.03196.81

May 2006

202.64206.65209.74

Jun 2006

200.61205.04207.64

Jul 2006

206.23211.69213.77

Aug 2006

205.35209.87212.59

Sep 2006

178.54182.37183.88

Oct 2006

157.01160.46161.80

Nov 2006

154.84159.20159.78

Dec 2006

161.14165.08166.33

Jan 2007

157.14160.18161.89

Feb 2007

157.96162.56163.13

Mar 2007

178.67182.58184.28

Apr 2007

196.95202.31203.10

May 2007

215.03223.02222.36

Jun 2007

209.88217.07218.04

Jul 2007

203.99210.71211.49

Aug 2007

191.81198.32199.08

Sep 2007

192.21199.37199.83

Oct 2007

192.48199.65199.68

Nov 2007

211.10218.89219.10

Dec 2007

207.79214.84215.61

Jan 2008

209.61216.59217.75

Feb 2008

208.73215.40216.49

Mar 2008

223.90230.44232.16

Apr 2008

236.36245.42245.10

May 2008

258.16266.97268.50

Jun 2008

278.61287.26289.66

Jul 2008

280.43287.89291.65

Aug 2008

259.85268.23269.95

Sep 2008

253.83262.84263.25

Oct 2008

218.35217.77223.66

Nov 2008

149.49154.51154.69

Dec 2008

117.94122.11122.67

Jan 2009

124.44128.76129.71

Feb 2009

133.99138.21139.48

Mar 2009

135.41140.73140.91

Apr 2009

142.65147.10148.37

May 2009

156.67162.07162.66

Jun 2009

181.52187.61189.36

Jul 2009

175.63180.69182.99

Aug 2009

181.25186.84189.07

Sep 2009

177.79182.58185.17

Oct 2009

176.91182.30183.61

Nov 2009

183.41189.36191.15

Dec 2009

180.84186.35188.30

Jan 2010

188.15193.77196.24

Feb 2010

183.41188.87190.76

Mar 2010

191.54197.62199.29

Apr 2010

196.75202.94205.16

May 2010

197.36202.24206.62

Jun 2010

188.42194.89196.65

Jul 2010

188.42194.68196.55

Aug 2010

189.23194.75197.41

Sep 2010

186.46192.93194.64

Oct 2010

192.48199.65201.11

Nov 2010

196.28203.85205.16

Dec 2010

205.21213.30214.37

Jan 2011

212.53220.29222.48

Feb 2011

217.67228.41227.39

Mar 2011

243.33252.97254.05

Apr 2011

261.54269.56273.12

May 2011

269.60277.12282.95

Jun 2011

254.10261.37266.62

Jul 2011

250.71259.27262.60

Aug 2011

249.15258.64261.35

Sep 2011

248.07256.61259.46

Oct 2011

238.39245.35248.43

Nov 2011

235.27240.94245.58

Dec 2011

225.39232.75235.70

Jan 2012

233.38240.73244.13

Feb 2012

245.23254.72256.15

Mar 2012

265.27273.41276.89

Apr 2012

269.19276.98281.90

May 2012

259.92265.29271.71

Jun 2012

243.87251.64255.04

Jul 2012

237.10244.79248.11

Aug 2012

254.50264.52266.04

Sep 2012

264.59273.62276.99

Oct 2012

259.92266.76271.15

Nov 2012

239.81246.40250.32

Dec 2012

229.25236.60239.80

 

For all three measures discussed in the report, the price being sought is the pump price paid by the consumer, including all taxes. In addition, the definition of gasoline includes different grades, but excludes diesel and alternative fuels. So, to a large degree, the series being examined are all attempting to measure the same thing. A look at the chart reveals that the measures tell similar stories of gasoline price movement over the past 10 years.

The three curves displayed are normalized so that each series starts at the same place. Even so, the chart does obscure some slight differences, which are discussed in more detail in the article. 

These data are from the Consumer Price Indexes program. To learn more, see “Measures of gasoline price change” (HTML) (PDF), by Malik Crawford and Stephen B. Reed, Beyond the Numbers, September 2013.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Measures of gasoline price change on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130925.htm (visited November 27, 2014).

OF INTEREST

Three recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics