An annotated history of oil prices since 1861

Remember that big oil price spike in 1863?

In its annual report on energy consumption, BP released a chart showing oil prices in relative since 1861 in both the dollar-value of the time and in 2014-dollars.

While prices are at historically high levels today, one thing is clear in the chart: it’s been worse.

The effective cost of oil exploded in the 1860s and the 1970s, correlating with major events like the Pennsylvania oil boom and the oil embargo of 1973. Price drops also correspond to new sources of oil like the beginning of Russian exports.

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