Benjamin Franklin once expressed that there are only two things you can count on in life: death and taxes. Transportation analysts might add a third item to that list – fluctuating gas prices. In the last decade, gas prices have risen and fallen multiple times, from a high of more than $4 per gallon to a low of less than $2 per gallon. Although lower prices are currently saving drivers money at the pump, the uncertainty of future gas prices may substantially hurt household budgets.

The above timeline illustrates how oil prices have fluctuated over the last 40 years, starting with the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Through that time, the Department of Energy and its predecessors have worked to increase vehicle fuel economy and minimize our country’s vulnerability to these price swings. Our transportation offices are working to improve alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technologies that improve efficiency, minimize our dependence on petroleum, save money, and reduce our contributions to climate change.

Shannon Brescher Shea
Shannon Brescher Shea ( is the social media manager and senior writer/editor in the Office of Science’s Office of Communication and Public Affairs.
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