The cost of fuel for transportation has recently been a major subject of discussions. The data shown was obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce and other websites. It is recognized that the cars we drive today are much better than those manufactured in 1960. Also how much and how we move about also has changed.

Yearly Expenses           1960    1960Today   2006
(per household)

Total Transportation         $759      $ 5,277    $  9,601
Note: 2006 is the last year with data available.

General Expenses        1960   1960Today    2008
Gallon of gasoline          $0.25       $1.75        $3.96
New Chevrolet              $2,230     $15,499     $21,975
Average new car           $2,600     $18,070     $28,400
Round trip airfare
Cleveland to Baltimore    $ 75        $ 521        $ 262

Other Data (per household):          1960      2008
Registered cars & trucks                   1.44      2.17
Highway fuel (gallons)                      1,123    1,615

Editor's Analysis:
The effect of the current high price of oil on the cost of transportation is not fully captured in the 2006 U.S. Department of Commerce estimate. Even with the increase in oil prices, it appears that the overall cost of transportation has increased at a rate twice as fast as the CPI rate of inflation. It appears that part of the increase is due to the increase in the cost of safer and more appointed automobiles. We also have increased costs due to longer average commutes from the suburbs than existed in 1960.

It is significant that the cost of airfare has increased at a rate roughly half the CPI inflation rate. Until 1978, airfares were regulated by the U.S. Government.  

8/6/2008
Copyright 2008; All rights reserved. ClearPictureOnline.com
Return to Home Page  Go to Next 1960Today Article
The following 1960 prices were obtained from a 1960 Greenville, Mississippi newspaper. A concerted effort was made to find prices for equivalent items today. Your cost experience may be different.

Item                              1960    1960Today   2008
Mans Golf Shirt             $ 2.98      $ 20.71    $ 16.99
Haggar Slacks              $10.95      $ 76.10    $ 35.00
Womens Tennis Shoe    $ 2.99      $ 20.78    $ 25.99
Washing Machine          $  178      $ 1,237    $   399
Three bedroom house
Monthly Rent                 $   98      $    681    $ 1,150
Average New House*     $16,500   $114,675  $313,600
* From the U.S. Department of Commerce 2007 Data

Yearly Cost Per Family   1960    1960Today   2008
Housing                          $  832      $5,782    $12,129
Clothing and Jewelry        $  653      $4,542    $  3,137
Personal Care                 $  110       $  762    $  1,085
Household Operation       $   896      $6,228    $ 7,953
General Household Total  $2,491      $17,314  $24,305
Data From the U.S. Department of Commerce

Editor's Analysis:
With the exception of housing, it appears that in general, household items have increased at a rate close to the CPI rate of inflation. The appliance industry appears to be providing a significantly higher relative value today verses what it did in 1960. The increases in new home prices and the average yearly cost can be partially explained by the increase in size and amenities that come with homes today verse homes purchased in 1960.







Original: August 19, 2008; Update August 25, 2008