The real price of oil

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The symbolic $ 50 barrel of oil has been crossed in recent days.

Yes the media are right: in absolute oil has never been so expensive but what about in relative? Taking into account the level of inflation and the cost of money?

In this case: the media are sadly mistaken as shown by the following curve which oil prices were reported to the dollar price of 1998.

trading oil since 1860
crude quotation from 1860, in current and constant currency. Source: CME, click to enlarge

In the early 80 oil was so much more than now as he was in for $ 1998 to nearly $ 70. Obviously it was the consequences of the oil crisis 2ieme but prices have still been well above $ 50 4 for nearly years!

Another point that should currently take into account the price of oil: CO2 discharges.

Some experts estimate the cost (environmental future) between 10 and 40 $ per tonne of CO2 released into the atmosphere. Others speak, but it is without doubt unfair to 80 100 to $. Take a reasonably low average of $ 20 tonne.

A ton of oil burned on average rejects 2.5 times its mass in the form CO2.

A barrel weighs 127 320 kg and therefore reject kg CO2 about.

Hence an "extra cost" of the barrel of 0.32 * 20 = 6.4 $. Let more than 10% be the current price. So much more on a weak barrel. With the high estimate at 100 $ per ton we multiply by 5 this figure is more than 50% increase and more 100% increase with a barrel at 25 $.

- The real oil price adjusted by inflation
- Money and income from crude oil
- Purchasing power, SMIC and oil: how many hours of work?

SMIC and oil since 1990
Number of hours of work required from 1990 to buy oil, in constant currency. Source:, click to enlarge

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