May 02, 2008

Gas price math

Today I just stumbled upon two sources discussing the price of gas in a comparative sense; one was a line graph comparing it to the past, the other was a world-wide comparison.

Both were interesting; and a resourceful teacher can now make all kinds of problems based on the data. First based on the list of gas prices in various countries, for example these come to mind. (And I'm just giving you ideas for a lesson on gasoline lesson; I'm not providing answers but if some of you want to, feel free to comment.)

  • Approximately how many-fold is the price of gas in Bosnia-Herzegovina as it is in the USA? In Egypt? In Venezuela?


  • If your mileage is 25 miles per gallon, find the price of driving a 120-mile trip in Germany and in the USA.


Looking at the inflation adjusted gas price in 2008 dollars now. Just reading the graph:

  • When was the price of gas at its lowest? At its highest? How much was it?


  • Find the price of gas (approximately) in 1930, 1960, and 1990 by reading the graph.


  • If you overlook the peaks of the late 1930s and early 1980s, describe the general trend in the price of gas from 1918 till about 1999.
    How many dollars did the price change over that period?



Then into percents:

  • If you overlook the peaks of the late 1930s and early 1980s, describe the general trend in the price of gas from 1918 till about 1999.
    How many percent was this change?
  • What was the price of gas (approximately) when it was at its cheapest in the 1990s?


  • How many percent did the price drop from 1981 to that low point of 1990s?


  • How many percent has the price risen from the low point of 1990s till now?


And so on! Feel free to change the questions as you see fit and use them with your students.
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