History of gas prices - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

History of gas prices


MADISON (WKOW) -- Gas Prices are now above four dollars a gallon, and with no significant relief in sight, you have to wonder just how high will prices go.

Consumer Reporter Kim Sveum looked at how gas prices, and our attitudes about them, have changed over the years.

Remember the days when gas prices were under a dollar?

That was almost 30 years ago.

We first saw gas inch above the dollar mark in Wisconsin in 1980, and prices stayed there through most of the 80's and 90's.

Pam Moen of AAA Wisconsin says "Back then prices didn't really change that much. And when they did move, they didn't move that far.

In fact.. Moen says drivers actually got a break in 86, 87 and 88, when prices went back below the dollar mark.

But in the late 90's, prices went above one dollar for good, causing concerns that now, sound comical.

"If it gets about 1.34, we'll curtail our travels, absolutely. We'll have to." said one driver.

It wasn't until the turn of the century that Wisconsinites saw prices cruise above even a dollar 50.

In june of 2000, gas was at $1.68.

It was $1.85 in 2001.

But the real shock came in 2004 when prices went above the 2 dollar mark for the first time.

People started to seriously think about how they drove their cars, and the types of cars they drove.

One concerned driver said "It was 70 dollars to fill my truck and that made me think maybe I need to look around for something else."

In the summer of 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit, slowing production, and increasing prices.

In 2007, for the first time, we saw gas go above 3 dollars.

"I'm wondering how high it's going to go. How the working man's going to even afford to go to work." said another driver.

But despite that, we drove on.

Here's what Pam Moen had to say before the Thanksgiving holiday in 2007, "Despite the fact that we're paying more for gas than we ever have at the end of november, we are still expecting record numbers of travelers to hit the roads."

That was back in 2007.

It's not true in 2008.

This past memorial day, as gas prices hit a record high of 4 dollars, we made changes.

"Memorial Day this year was significant in that it was the first time our holiday travel survey showed we actually expected to see a decrease in the number of people planning to travel compared to last year." according to Moen.

A disgusted driver had this to say, "I think they're horrible. A family on memorial day weekend, trying to get away and you can't. You have to stay home and cook in the backyard. It's ridiculous."

It's much the same story for this holiday weekend.

For the first time this decade, AAA estimates a decline in the number of americans traveling during the Fourth of July holiday.

They're estimating about 550-thousand fewer people will be on the roads nationwide.

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