About a week ago, I posted this picture to PicShers, the photo-a-day family snapshots blog:
It shows the intersection of California highways 236 and 9 in Boulder Creek, and was taken on November 19th, 2000. Even last week, the 2000 price of gas looked quaintly low.
This picture was taken a couple of hours ago, from about the same spot:
The gas station has changed companies, and the price board isn't quite so bold about its contents, but if you look closer...
... you'll see that the price per gallon of regular is now three cents less than it was eight years ago.
While that's nice in an obvious way, it's also unsettling. I may just be Joe the Astronomer, not Tito the Economist, but even I can figure out that when the price of such a crucial commodity as gasoline goes through precipitous swings -- in either direction -- it's probably an indicator of a sick economy.
On the bright side, though, I filled the Jeep's tank for less than 30 bucks, and the guy across the street by Johnnie's Market was having a great time with his dog.
Update, December 6, nine days later: the price is down to $1.769. That's a decline of more than two cents a day. At this rate, clearly not sustainable, we'll be down to the magic price of 45 cents a gallon in two months. (That's a "magic price" because, at that point, gas itself is essentially free, since 45 cents per gallon here is for various taxes, so the price per gallon cannot go below that.) This isn't a price fall, it's a collapse. Weird.