Most oil prices are quoted in cash terms (not inflation adjusted) even in relatively long time
series. This generally means that when prices are compared over time increases are
overstated and price falls understated. This is much less of a problem over short periods,
especially as the price of oil has an important impact on underlying inflation. However, when
prices are being compared over a number of decades and direct comparisons are being
made –such as, is today’s oil price the highest ever? –then a series using real prices gives a
more meaningful picture. The daily prices in this note are given in cash terms, the monthly
and annual data are presented in both real and cash terms.
Data/charts on oil prices can be downloaded/viewed at:
US Energy Information Administration –spot prices
DECC energy price statistics
Readers may also wish to refer to the following standard notes:
Petrol and diesel prices
Energy imports and exports
Road fuel prices: Social Indicators page
Energy price rises and their impact on demand
The Office for Budget Responsibility has produced estimates of the impact of a given level of
temporary and permanent increases in the price of oil on the public finances. This also
included an appendix with a summary of the estimated impact on the UK economy.
The top 20 oil producing and exporting countries are listed in the appendix to this note.