Gasoline Price Rise Provokes Memories and More

Nearly every night in May and June, television news reporters were advising viewers where the cheapest gasoline could be found. It was as if nothing had changed since 1973, when the nation experienced an earlier oil price shock.

Nebraskans, like most Americans, had become complacent about energy costs. In July 1999, regular gasoline was selling for $1.21 a gallon. A year later, the price was $1.75, the fifth highest in the nation. Further east in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, the price was over $2 a gallon. Everyone wanted to know why.

A number of petroleum experts made these observations about the situation:

By August, the average price of regular gasoline in Nebraska had dropped to $1.47. However, there were conflicting indicators regarding the future direction of prices: oil prices hovered at $34 a barrel, a 10-year price peak, and the American driving season ends after Labor Day, and gasoline prices typically decline as demand diminishes.

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