Friday , 21 June 2024

Your Car: Can You Drive Further On An Hours Wages Than In the Past? Check It Out

Someone recently asserted on a site that: “The cost to fuel your car has never been carshigher as a percentage of disposable income.” I know gasoline prices are high, but I couldn’t accept such a contention without looking at incomes and fuel economy, too. I put together 50 years of pretty consistent data for the key variables and my findings will surprise you. Read on.

The above introductory comments are paraphrased excerpts from an article* by Ed Dolan ( entitled How Many Miles Can You Drive On An Hours Wages – 100 Years in One Chart.

The following article is presented courtesy of Lorimer Wilson, editor of (Your Key to Making Money!) has been edited, abridged and/or reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. This paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

Dolan goes on to say in further edited excerpts:

…[As can be seen in the chart below] miles per hour worked (MPHW) peaked at 271 in 1999, a year when:

  • gasoline cost a modest $1.13 per gallon,
  • the average car on the road got 22.9 MPG, and
  • the average production worker earned $13.49 per hour.

(To calculate the MPHW I have divided the average hourly wage ($13.49) by the price for a gallon of gasoline ($1.13) and multiplied it by the average car’s fuel efficiency in miles per gallon.)

Since 1999, gasoline prices have risen sharply, fuel economy of the average vehicle has gone up only slowly, and wages have not risen as fast as gasoline prices. As a result, the average MPHW has fallen by about 35% to about where it was in 1980.

Here’s the full chart going back to 1964 (data before 1964 was too hard to come by):

Miles per gallon

…[As bad as the current MPHW looks,] don’t lose heart. The good news is that each year there are more fuel-efficient cars on the market to help you beat the high price of gasoline. The popular Toyota Prius, for example, is rated at 50 MPG and, [as such,]…yields 285 MPHW at the average wage for production workers, beating even the 1999 average of 271.

Sharpen your pencil, calculate the MPHW for your current car and job, and for your favorite cars of years past, and fill the numbers in on the chart. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: The author’s views and conclusions in the above article are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original post. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor.


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