It may not seem to some that 2010 has seen the smallest range in gasoline prices in the last five years- but its true- and not even close to prior years.
I measured the past five years to see the maximum range of gasoline prices and see what year saw the biggest swing. Without even having to look I assumed the biggest range would have been in 2008 when prices went from $4/gal to under $2/gal. Sure enough- the price range in 2008 was the largest of the five years. Before I tell you- take an educated guess at what the price swing was in '05. Ready? It was two dollars and fifty-one cents per gallon. That's right- the national average in 2008 hit $1.61/gallon but also hit $4.12/gallon. Wow!
Comparing 2010 to the past five years, we could easily finish this year having seen the smallest range in a long time. So far this year, prices have bottomed out at $2.61/gallon while also hitting a $2.94/gallon peak. That spread is just thirty three cents per gallon. Even if we doubled that range and saw prices go over $3, we'd still have the most stable year in the past five!
So maybe going into Thanksgiving we can be a bit thankful that prices have remained pretty calm this year (although with the recent hikes maybe I can throw that sentence out the window!)
2005 minimum: $1.74, maximum $3.07. Price swing of $1.33.
2006 minimum: $2.18, maximum $3.01. Price swing of $0.83.
2007 minimum: $2.13, maximum $3.23. Price swing of $1.10.
2008 minimum: $1.61, maximum $4.12. Price swing of $2.51.
2009 minimum: $1.63, maximum $2.69. Price swing of $1.06.
2010 minimum: $2.61, maximum $2.94. Price swing of $0.33*.
*Through November 9, 2010