What's the Most Americans Have Ever Paid for Gas?

American drivers had it rough back in 1981, when the average price of gasoline spiked to $1.35 a gallon that year — up for $1.22 in 1980 and more than double the price just three years earlier. Drivers today would gladly take that deal. As it stands, the average price of gas in the U.S. is a staggering $4.86. That’s a new all-time high, not only on a national level, but in all 50 states. The new high eclipses the previous record of $4.10 set in 2008. Older drivers will remember a time when $5 a gallon for gas sounded like the stuff of science fiction. The average national price for a full year didn’t even push $2 a gallon until 2005. Prior to 2021, the yearly average exceeded $3 a gallon only five times: in 2008 and from 2011 to 2014. Who wouldn’t love go to back to 1937, when gas was a paltry 10¢ a gallon. Keep in mind, however, that the average income then was $1,788 a year. The average rent was $26 a month, and buying a house would set you back $4,100. There’s little doubt that people were complaining then about the $1.40 they had to shell out to fill up the tank of their Ford Standard Tudor Sedan.