Since my mother died, I've kept a lot of things that she used to keep to remember her mother. I have lots of old photos including one of my grandmother as a baby. However, this simple little notebook with her handwritten log of how much my grandparents paid each month for oil was fascinating to get a look at.

For the entire year of 1950, my grandparents spent a grand total of $123.42 on heating oil. Their largest delivery was 92 gallons at 15.3 cents per gallon in September of 1950, for a delivery charge of $14.07. Sounds crazy cheap doesn't it?

Well it is...but it isn't. When you factor in inflation, you see that the times have not really changed that much. That $123.42 for the year in 1950 is equal to $1129.11 today. 15.3 cents per gallon with inflation is the same as $1.41 per gallon today.

Now that's not to say that heating oil wasn't cheaper in 1950. It was. The current price of a gallon of heating oil from C.N Brown in Bethel, where my grandparents lived, is $2.099 per gallon according to That would be 21 cents per gallon in 1950, nearly 6 cents higher than the highest price paid that year.

Math is fun isn't it?