I've watched the price at the gas pump ever since I got a school/work permit when I was 14-years-old. Last weekend, as I compared prices I was shocked at the discrepancy.

Sunday morning I was out and about and one of our vehicles was in desperate need of gasoline. I was shocked when I looked up at the price sign of the place I typically buy gas. The "cheapest" unleaded, which I always buy, was $2.689 a gallon. About a football field away the price for the same fuel was $2.989. What?! No wonder there was a line at the pumps. I filled up our other vehicle three hours later, also for $2.689.

A check of Gas Buddy today shows fuel prices in Cedar Rapids ranging from $2.74 to $3.09 per gallon. That's a 35-cent per gallon discrepancy. I'd drive across town for that.

Iowa City? Similar. Prices range from $2.99 to $3.09 for the most part. If you're a Costco member, you can apparently fill up there for $2.69. Thirty to 40 cents per gallon lower than everyone else.

I decided to take a look at Iowa prices overall. Gas Buddy's lowest prices in Iowa are in Ankeny and Waterloo. It lists Sam's Club in those two cities at $2.64 and $2.66, respectively. The discrepancy in prices is small, though, when compared to other stations in that area. In Altoona, Ankeny, Des Moines, and other nearby cities, prices were just a few pennies more per gallon.

I realize there are a lot of variables when it comes to gas prices but big discrepancies at the pump always make me wonder if something untoward is going on...

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To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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