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Old journal recounts the cost of a 1940 Minn.-California road trip

  • Blog Post by:
  • March 3, 2014 - 11:41 AM

Lyle Lundeen, an 89-year-old retired Navy pilot who lives in Bloomington, found an old palm-sized notebook that brought back some memories -- and some signs of the wrench inflation has thrown into road trips. His parents kept track of costs on a 1940 drive from Minneapolis to California. Cabins were $2. Gas was as cheap as 15-cents a gallon.

According to his calculations, the whole trek for four cost less than $120 for gas, "eats" and lodging.

Ace Star Tribune copy editor Bruce Adomeit put the somewhat staggering figures into context:

According to the inflation calculator at www.minneapolisfed.org, $118.95 in 1940 dollars for the California trip is equivalent to $2,002.03 in today’s money.

Gas in Salt Lake City at 20 cents a gallon sounds dirt cheap, but that equals $3.37 a gallon in today’s dollars. www.saltlakegasprices.com shows that Saturday’s average price in Salt Lake City was less than that: $3.266.

© 2014 Star Tribune