Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Meet Me in the Petroleum Combustion Unit"

September didn't go out with a bang or whimper, at least in terms of weather conditions in my general vicinity, but like smooth jazz. A light breeze and about 70° F. in mid-afternoon under partly cloudy skies. I didn't have a lot of time to sit outside and read, but I made a little while for it. October will not be so generous with pleasant weather.

Also on Season 2, Disc 8 of Saturday Night Live on DVD (see yesterday) is the May 21, 1977, episode of that program (Buck Henry, Jennifer Warnes). I carved out a few minutes today for that as well, with the advantage of skipping the parts I didn't want to see. During the "Coneheads Return" sketch, Beldar and his family stop for gasoline en route to Manhattan, and the camera caught sight of the price of gasoline at whatever New Jersey Exxon station they filmed at: 60.9¢/gal. I couldn't see the grade.

Naturally, that sent me to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis' web site to use its inflation calculator (isn't that what you'd do?). I entered the variables and it spat out the answer: "If in 1977, I bought goods or services for $0.61 then in 2010, the same goods or services would cost $2.21. That in turn led me to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, which tells me that the current average (9.30.10) for a gallon of regular is $2.689. So gas is somewhat more expensive for us than Beldar, though I also remember that by 1979, when I was having to pay for gas myself, it was closer to $1/gal., in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and its attendant oil shocks. A dollar in 1979 is $3.03 now.

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