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The data since 1983 is based on the daily West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil price that is reported daily in the Cash Prices column of The Wall Street Journal. The CPI measures the average price level of goods and services. Inflation adjusting with the CPI shows the price of crude oil measured in today's dollars, compensating for the diminishing purchasing power of the dollar. Volume 26 Commodities (Energy) of the Topline Encyclopedia of Historical Charts includes a Comparable Log Scale chart showing both the nominal and inflation adjusted crude oil price back to 1913. Volume 15 Inflation Adjusted contains many other constant dollar charts.
These charts are updated through March 9, 1998.
This chart shows the price of crude oil, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). After adjusting for inflation, the price of crude oil has fallen to levels near those that prevailed before the first "oil crisis". As measured by the CPI, crude oil is cheaper than it has been in over twenty years..
After adjusting for inflation, the price of crude oil rose from the 1994 low, as indicated by the progression of higher peaks and higher valleys, peaking at the end of 1996. The dramatic collapse has retraced a three-year advance (and more) in only fifteen months. This may be a reflection of the collapse of demand from the Pacific Rim.
The top panel shows the daily crude oil price (in nominal dollars, not adjusted for inflation). The bottom panel shows a long-term momentum indicator, the monthly Coppock Curve (using preliminary March 1998 monthly average). This decline has generated the strongest momentum readings (on the monthly Coppock Curve) since the 1986 lows.
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