Gasoline, unleaded premium priced at $20 in 1981 $45.86 in 2021

Gasoline, Unleaded Premium Inflation Calculator

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Prices for Gasoline, Unleaded Premium, 1981-2021 ($20)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for gasoline, unleaded premium were 129.29% higher in 2021 versus 1981 (a $25.86 difference in value).

Between 1981 and 2021: Gasoline, unleaded premium experienced an average inflation rate of 2.10% per year. This rate of change indicates significant inflation. In other words, gasoline, unleaded premium costing $20 in the year 1981 would cost $45.86 in 2021 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 2.69% during this same period, inflation for gasoline, unleaded premium was lower.

Price Inflation for Gasoline, unleaded premium since 1981

Consumer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Years with the largest changes in pricing: 2009 (-25.84%), 2000 (25.43%), and 2011 (24.89%).

Raw Consumer Price Index data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for Gasoline, unleaded premium:

Year 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
CPI 105.080 101.317 99.608 99.069 100.085 81.431 83.162 84.585 91.662 103.654 102.115 101.869 100.931 101.285 102.177 107.100 106.838 94.162 101.831 127.723 123.438 116.269 133.815 156.377 188.731 212.062 228.966 266.547 197.659 231.780 289.460 299.617 293.859 284.886 219.014 199.810 223.312 252.125 247.540 215.465 240.941

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Buying power of $20 since 1981

Below are calculations of equivalent buying power for Gasoline, unleaded premium, over time, for $20 beginning in 1981. Each of the amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Year USD Value Inflation Rate
1981 $20.00 -
1982 $19.28 -3.58%
1983 $18.96 -1.69%
1984 $18.86 -0.54%
1985 $19.05 1.02%
1986 $15.50 -18.64%
1987 $15.83 2.13%
1988 $16.10 1.71%
1989 $17.45 8.37%
1990 $19.73 13.08%
1991 $19.44 -1.48%
1992 $19.39 -0.24%
1993 $19.21 -0.92%
1994 $19.28 0.35%
1995 $19.45 0.88%
1996 $20.38 4.82%
1997 $20.33 -0.24%
1998 $17.92 -11.87%
1999 $19.38 8.14%
2000 $24.31 25.43%
2001 $23.49 -3.35%
2002 $22.13 -5.81%
2003 $25.47 15.09%
2004 $29.76 16.86%
2005 $35.92 20.69%
2006 $40.36 12.36%
2007 $43.58 7.97%
2008 $50.73 16.41%
2009 $37.62 -25.84%
2010 $44.11 17.26%
2011 $55.09 24.89%
2012 $57.03 3.51%
2013 $55.93 -1.92%
2014 $54.22 -3.05%
2015 $41.69 -23.12%
2016 $38.03 -8.77%
2017 $42.50 11.76%
2018 $47.99 12.90%
2019 $47.11 -1.82%
2020 $41.01 -12.96%
2021 $45.86 11.82%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

How to calculate the inflation rate for gasoline, unleaded premium, 1981-2021

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2021 / CPI in 1981 * 1981 USD value = 2021 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values from above. The CPI for Gasoline, unleaded premium was 105.080 in the year 1981 and 240.941 in 2021:

240.941 / 105.080 * $20 = $45.86

Therefore, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $20 in 1981 has the same "purchasing power" as $45.86 in 2021 (in the CPI category of Gasoline, unleaded premium).


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the Consumer Price Index for Gasoline, unleaded premium in 1981. In addition to gasoline, unleaded premium, the index produces monthly data on changes in prices paid by urban consumers for a variety of goods and services.

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