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Gas and cigarettes

 
 
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:09 pm
Someone said to me today:

"At the risk of showing my age, when I first learned to drive gas was $0.33 a gallon and cigarettes were $0.33 a pack. Now gas is $4- something a gallon and cigarettes are $4-something a pack."

How old is this person?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,972 • Replies: 44
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:10 pm
55
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:27 pm
Oh!

I'm going to have to ask who his dermatoligist is....

You could very welll be right......
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:28 pm
Well.... I remember gas at $.23/gal and cigs at $.25/pack. I'd guess that they are probably around 45 or so. Depends on where they were at the time though. Gas and Ciggy prices vary pretty quite a bit in different parts of the country.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:37 pm
That is probably closer to how old I think he is. But he really looks younger than that.

He was born and raised in the Pacific North West -- this I know for sure. People here age well because sunshine is so rare. When I first moved here I was amazed at people's ages -- it makes you realize how sun ages you.

Boom (now I wear hats) erang.
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:38 pm
I guess it was in the 60s

http://www.1960sflashback.com/1962/ECONOMY.asp
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 09:58 pm
CalamityJane wrote:


*nods* The U.S. average for a pack of cigs broke the $.30/pack point in 1969. I only remember gas prices because my dad used to write them down every time he filled up. He used a little log book in every car to calculate his gas mileage and what he paid for gas every time he filled up.

Just guessing that most people wouldn't renember something like that until they were at least 5 or 6 years old so that would put them at a point where they'd have to have been born in the early 1960s to remember them at those sorts of prices.
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Gala
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 06:15 am
Mid to upper 50s.

I remember when gas was 50 cents a gallon. I used to put $2 worth in the car at a time.

Sometimes I play the daydreamy game of; imagine if gas cost 50 cents a gallon now...then poof! daydream disolves after about 3 seconds.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 06:20 am
Re: Gas and cigarettes
boomerang wrote:
Someone said to me today:

"At the risk of showing my age, when I first learned to drive gas was $0.33 a gallon and cigarettes were $0.33 a pack. Now gas is $4- something a gallon and cigarettes are $4-something a pack."

How old is this person?


I'd say, roughly, 50-55. Gasoline was in the range of 30-35 cents per gallon, and cigarettes (at last in Virginia and the Carolinas) about 35 cents a pack in about 1972--at any rate, pre-Arab-Israeli War of 1973, after which the oil embargo changed everything. So, someone born in 1956 would qualify, which would make them early 50s now.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 06:27 am
Fishin' has a good point about regional prices. However, i'd think this person would have to be at least 50, and probably older, because of the claim that these were the prices when s/he was learning to drive--which means 15 or 16 years of age.

Personally, i remember going to the store to get cigarettes for a grown up, and they were 20 cents a pack. Gasoline ran around 20 cents a gallon (19.9), unless there were gas wars, when it would drop to 17.9, 16.9 or even as low as 15.9 per gallon. I was born in 1950.

I always found the prices at army post exchanges to be revealing, though. I was paying 17 cents per pack for cigarettes before i went overseas, and i paid 19 cents a pack when i came back (after over a year and a half). There was a huge post exchange at one place where i was stationed, right next to a huge commissary and quartermaster clothing store (lots of married personnel at that base), and they also sold gasoline (it was rationed, you had a card to get X amount per week--so as not to "unfairly" compete with local, civilian gas stations). Gasoline sold there for 19 cents a gallon, at a time when it was 35 cents at stations off post. I surmised that the PX and commissary prices were closer to the reality, and the difference in prices with civilian places was the evidence of the profit margin they were taking off-post. A PX sells things as cheaply as possible, but they are required to recoup their operating costs.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 07:29 am
I remember 33, 32 cent gas and I'm 45.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 07:53 am
Were you learning to drive at the time?
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 08:18 am
I was about 10 I think. Yeah, 1972. We had just moved to NY and my father was complaining about 32 cent gas being so expensive.
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 08:59 am
1972 or 73 seems to be about the right time frame based on historical gas prices from CA.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 03:05 pm
Setanta wrote:
Fishin' has a good point about regional prices. However, i'd think this person would have to be at least 50, and probably older, because of the claim that these were the prices when s/he was learning to drive--which means 15 or 16 years of age.


Doh! I totally missed the "when I was learning to drive" part. From that aspect, yeah, 50-55 or so.



Quote:
I always found the prices at army post exchanges to be revealing, though. I was paying 17 cents per pack for cigarettes before i went overseas, and i paid 19 cents a pack when i came back (after over a year and a half). There was a huge post exchange at one place where i was stationed, right next to a huge commissary and quartermaster clothing store (lots of married personnel at that base), and they also sold gasoline (it was rationed, you had a card to get X amount per week--so as not to "unfairly" compete with local, civilian gas stations). Gasoline sold there for 19 cents a gallon, at a time when it was 35 cents at stations off post. I surmised that the PX and commissary prices were closer to the reality, and the difference in prices with civilian places was the evidence of the profit margin they were taking off-post. A PX sells things as cheaply as possible, but they are required to recoup their operating costs.


It used to be (late 70s/early 80s) that the difference was that the PX/BX didn't charge the State and Federal gas taxes. Now all of them are required to be within 5% of the local average price so there often isn't much benefit to buying gas on base any more. As far as I know they still don't pay the taxes so they are making a killing on the mark-up side. A lot of that profit gets donated back to the base/post as MWR support. Cigarettes, meats (beef) and spices/seasonings are really the only things I find to be significantly cheaper on post any more. (I can buy cigs on the base for ~$30/carton and they are ~$55/carton off base locally. If I go to the Costco in NH I can get them for pretty much the same price as they are on base.)
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 08:49 pm
Huh.

I guess I am going to have to come to grips with the fact that it is 50 year old men that I now say "no way he could be that old he looks too good" about now that I'm closing in on 50 myself.

I was talking to the dad of a kid on Mo's baseball team tonight and asked if he had any other kids. He said "I have a 26 year old daughter too."

"NO WAY!" says I.

Men.

Damn.

They're pretty things.
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missconduct
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 12:13 pm
I'm glad you brought this up. I always thought it was more than a coincidence that school lunch was .30, as was gas, cigarettes and the movies. Hmmm, was it a broad long-sighted plot to hook pathetic teens on cigarettes? Did the school board set their prices hoping we'd make the right choice?


Ah life. Choices. Hmmm.
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 05:07 pm
In Ohio in 1968, gas was .33 a gallon. Cost me around three dollars to fill the tank of my VW, and I did that every eight days. (I kept a little notebook too.)

Cigarettes, though, were higher. I didn't smoke, but when I was small (four or five) the family sometimes went to a restaurant that had a cigarette machine. If one of my parents needed smokes, I'd beg for the chance to pull the handle on the machine.

The pack cost .47. You'd put in two quarters, and out would come a pack of Chesterfield Straights (preferred brand in our house) with three pennies inside the wrapper. So they must have been more ten+ years later (or so) when I learned to drive.

re: a few pages back: Set, do youi suppose the cheaper prices at the PX had anything to do with not paying state or federal taxes on the stuff?
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 05:56 pm
The lowest I remember gas was about 35 cents ( very early 70's). I have never know the price cigarettes, even today I have no idea. I do remember that when I was about 9 or 10 I was allowed to go with a friend to the local pizza parlor. My mother gave me a quarter for a slice of regular pizza and a dime for a small grape soda.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jun, 2008 06:48 am
Wy wrote:
Cigarettes, though, were higher. I didn't smoke, but when I was small (four or five) the family sometimes went to a restaurant that had a cigarette machine. If one of my parents needed smokes, I'd beg for the chance to pull the handle on the machine.

The pack cost .47. You'd put in two quarters, and out would come a pack of Chesterfield Straights (preferred brand in our house) with three pennies inside the wrapper. So they must have been more ten+ years later (or so) when I learned to drive.


Cigarettes in a machine always cost more. I believe cigarette machines are outlawed everywhere now.

Quote:
re: a few pages back: Set, do youi suppose the cheaper prices at the PX had anything to do with not paying state or federal taxes on the stuff?


No . . . those taxes are built into the cost, including tobacco taxes. You wouldn't pay sales tax, but the advertised price does not include that anyway. No, the point i was making was that at the PX, you pay the cost of the item, and the cost of the overhead to operate the PX system. The prices would be the same all over the world, a little higher in the continental United States (a few pennies), but then, you would expect the cost of employing American civilians to be higher, as well.

The PX system sells what they sell at cost plus simple overhead--they are not allowed to make a profit, and are required to recover their costs. This is averaged across the entire system outside the United States, which keeps prices low (obviously, a civilian employee in Germany in 1970 will want more pay than a civilian employee in Korea in 1970). Within the United States, prices were only slightly higher than overseas (if i recall correctly, two cents on a pack of cigarettes).

So, with state taxes built into the price of a pack of cigarettes or a gallon of gas, and federal taxes built into the price of a pack of cigarettes, what you are seeing is the profit margin, and the net profit margin at that. After all, civilian employees of the United States military are paid at least as well as employees in a gas station or a convenience store, and probably more. What was really scandalous was that i was paying 19 cents a pack in the PX at Fort Eustis, Virginia in 1972, just before i got out of the army, and a pack of the same smokes in a gas station or store was 35 cents. It was such a low price, that if you wanted smokes, you just bought them wherever you were at--the extra 16 cents didn't matter. But that 16 cents was pure profit, or nearly pure profit.

But here's the kicker. If you buy something in a state which is produced in that state--which has not been transported across state lines--you aren't paying any federal tax. The largest selling brand produced in Virginia is Marlboro--but they weren't any cheaper than any other brand of cigarettes (except perhaps if there was a promotional sale), even though there was no federal tax on them if sold in Virginia. If you buy Camels, Winstons or Salems in North Carolina, there is no federal tax, because they are produced in North Carolina (R. J. Reynolds has their headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina)--but they cost just as much as other cigarettes. I'm not alleging some vile capitalist conspiracy--necessarily--because it would have been pennies per pack in 1972. But these days, that tax would be a significant part of the cost of a carton of cigarettes. When i lived in North Carolina in the 1980s, we would buy cigarettes by the carton in the little shops along I95, which runs from Florida to Maine. There you found the cheapest cigarettes in North Carolina, because they knew they could rack up a huge volume of sales from the tourists driving between Florida and the northeastern states--and, once again, no federal tax on cigarettes sold in the state which produces them.
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