Want to have some fun?
Find the inflation multiplier for a year from the government web site for wage multipliers for a given year.
Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculation
For example in 1972 it was = 5.8417
This is the inflation factor that adjusts the value of a dollar earned in 1972 to today (2012)
Multiply it by the average cost of gas in 1972 - $0.36
The result is $ 2.10 a gallon; just corrected for inflation.
Then try it again for 1980
Multiplier 3.3303 times $ 1.25 for Unleaded Regular
That result is $ 4.16
Of course as you can see from the table it assumes there has been NO inflation since 2009. (like right....)
For all the complaints gas is actually cheaper today in real dollars than in 1980.
If you look at the average wage data
1980 - $ 12,850.89 times 3.3303 = $ 42,797.32 inflation adjusted.
Typically with one wage earner.
2010 - $ 41,673.83 typically with TWO wage earners
We are by far worse off than families in 1980.
Average Wage Index (AWI)
Actuarial Note 103
Actuarial Note No. 133