Take a quick tour to where gas prices are set
Two good sites that explain how gas prices are set are at the Department of Energy, which goes through 2005 and details Hurricane Katrina's effect on gas prices. and this site at How Stuff Works, which is more current and tells us that, adjusted for inflation, gas prices are not that much more than they were in 1980. Both sites are designed for the general reader.
[Source: How Stuff Works, the Department of Energy]
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