May 22 2009|10.26 AM UTC

Jonathan Rivers

The Summer of ’69 vs. the Summer of ’09

Category: SavingsTags:

Much has changed since the legendary summer of 1969, both socially and economically. To analyze the variance in purchasing power between then and now, we have compared a number of popular consumer products by price that are still relevant today. The figures from 1969 have been adjusted for inflation to give us a better idea of what the actual cost of each item would be in today’s economy. Given the bleak financial outlook which faces us this coming summer, it does us all a bit of good to look back with nostalgia on a time of blissful optimism and free love.

Note: Prices from 1969 are inflation-adjusted!

1969 vs. 2009

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{ 122 comments… read them below or add one }

Young May 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm

$325 an ounce? Sometimes I love Canada.


Yungstarr May 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Not enough Bryan Adams


John Davis May 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Dude, gas was not $2.07 a gallon in 1969. In fact, pumps of that time were analog and did not even register above $1. The average cost of a gallon of gas in 1969 was roughly 39 cents!



Jackie GoBackie May 22, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Way off. Gas in 1969 averaged 39 cents per gallon.


Dbax May 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Are you saying a gallon of gas cost $2.03 in 1969??


dot May 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm

You have left out the elephant in the room: cost of housing [per sqft].


Casey Wells May 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Not sure where the hell your from but those prices are from 2000 not 2009.


Anonymous May 22, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Pot does not cost $325 an ounce. If it did I would not smoke it everyday. Do some real research and stop getting ripped off.


Anonymous May 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm

who pays $325 for an ounce of the good grass?
seriously, you’re paying way too much


Mike B May 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I don’t know about some of those 1969 prices, but some of them are way off. That’s the government for you. I bought the Abbey Road album at J.C. Penny’s In 1971 and paid $7.99 and that was full price. the Daily paper was .10 cents and Sunday was a quarter. A cup of coffee was a dime, in 1969 at most diners maybe a quarter at denny’s.I don’t know what weed was, because I didn’t smoke it in 1969, but it was a 1/3 that in 1976 for good domestic, an ounce of Colombian in 1976 was $140.


Squish May 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Who the hell pays $325 for an ounce of buds?


Nathan May 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I don’t know about these prices.


Ken May 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Ok, in the mid 70′s we could get an ounce of pot for $40, a gallon of gas for about $0.65/gallon (maybe a bit more), a record album for somewhere between $5 and $8. This is totally in error.


stickmansix May 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm

uhm, i don’t mean to be one of those sticklers for detail. This is a very cool and relative post, but the Summer of Love was actually 1967. Sorry. No offense intended.


Chris Curtis May 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Some of these prices are definitely wrong. Gas was NOT 2+ dollars a gallon 69. A cup of coffee was 50 cents or less. Otherwise, very interesting.


I Was There May 22, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hey, I was there and you are way off. Albums were around $3.50; concerts were $6.00; shirts aroun $3.00; Levis $5.50; coffee $0.25 cents; Vw van $1,800.00; Gas $0.36 cents. Idiot!


Vancity Boi May 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm

$325 for a oz of weed??? Where tha fuck do you live?! Try $200/oz of purple kush. You’re getting grifted brotha.


peskydang May 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm

$140 for an ounce of marijuana?! Either someone’s lying to you or you got royally screwed.

In the LA area, it was $10 for a lid, sometimes $20 if it was really good stuff. $140 would have bought a whole key in ’69. But if you were really smart, you had a plant growing in the back yard or on the window sill. Properly tended, you could keep yourself stoned all year.

But nobody I know ever paid for it, we all just shared. The only people paying for it were the 30-somethings in the offices who liked to pretend they were cool.


2112 May 22, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Record album 17.43 in 1969? Say what? LOL! Try $5.00.
Where do you get these prices for 1969? How old are you? LOL!


Worthlessinfo May 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Sorry man… You got your numbers wrong.
Pot 15.00 per OZ
GAS 0.35 per Gal
Les Paul 700.00


JR May 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm

This chart is ridiculous! Nobody paid $17.43 for an LP in 1969, nor $2.03 for a gallon of gas. Where did you get these figures?


Seth Brundle May 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm

The “Summer of Love” refers to the summer of 1967, not the summer of 1969 – thats a Bryan Adams song.


lol May 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm

300+ for an ounce? you’re kidding me…


BillShrink Guy May 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Guys, those are inflation-adjusted numbers. Guess we should have made that a bit more obvious so everyone doesn’t freak out. Also, price for marijuana is base on third-party official source. We’re also aware that historically the term “The Summer of Love” was for the movement that started in 1967, but regardless it made an impact for the late 60s. Plus, it’s more fun comparing 40 years apart than say… 42 years. Lastly, the few comments on Bryan Adams shows that its easy to recognize where Summer of Love ’69 is from!


Aaron May 22, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Are people really having that big of an issue with the phrase “inflation-adjusted” here?


Adam Tuttle May 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Wow, people really need to do a better job of “reading” the damn piece before bashing it. All numbers are inflation adjusted as clearly mentioned at the top of the piece. Jeez.


YargleBlargle May 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm




Common Sense May 22, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Are you people stupid? Did you read the text at the top of the chart? Jesus, you’re the same people that start taking a test without reading the instructions at the top and do it all wrong.

Inflation adjusted prices.
Relative change.

Of course gas didn’t cost $2 in 1969. The author is showing us how much gas would be in 1969 with inflation adjusted prices.

The graph is basically trying to show us that sh*t costs too much these days in comparison.


Brian May 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Im apparently the only person who understans inflation adjusted prices. It was made quite clear, at the top of the graphic. I will split hairs about the price of pot. Try more around $120.


BillShrink Guy May 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Just FYI, I added in the bold NOTE before the graphics after the comments came storming in. As mentioned, we probably could have highlight the other one within the graphics but didn’t think it was an issue or people would have recognized it right away, our bad?


Think Before You Comment May 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Hi I am Joe Commenter and I don’t know how to read and so I fly off the handle on the internet and comment before reading intro paragraphs that include relevant details that help average people understand what they are looking at.


Cantbelieveit May 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm

wow i cant believe nobody here even took the time to read the article that clearly stated those ’69 prices are adjusted for inflation, and then they start bitching about error!?!? please in the future just try to know what you are whining about before being assholes about someone elses work. Those prices are totally realistic in comparision to today’s economy, but i was really surprised to see that newspaper are cheaper now then at the time. Good job on that chart.


coryyyyy May 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm

uh i think some of these prices are wrong… $325/ ounce is just criminal… maybe dank i guess


Oscar May 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm

WRONG! Weed was $10 an ounce in 1969. Gas was 29 cents a gallon and you got a set of glasses, full service for the price with a fill up. A cup of coffee was maybe 25 cents and when I left San Diego moving to Northern California in 1971 a VW bug was $7,999.00. That was the sign I saw as I was driving north out of San Diego at the dealer.

Levi 501′s were 5.99 and the cost to the company selling them was $3.33. The San Diego Union Tribune was 25 cents as well as the price of bus fare was 25 cents.

Converse All Stars were not $46.00 dollars. I can’t put an exact dollar figure on it but it was no where near that price.

Inflation adjusted price? Your results are misleading at best as a teenager, I could not have afforded a relative $325 for a bag of weed.


Chris May 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Thank you Aaron! I also noticed the numbers seemed off, until I noticed the bold print that stated, “Prices from 1969 are inflation-adjusted!”


Rabbit May 22, 2009 at 4:25 pm

So for anyone who is commenting on the price of Weed, I would love to know where you get yours, the cheapest OZ you can get around here is 350+, thats in Colorado…


ex-stoner May 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

As you can see everybody is freaking out about the prices for ’69 being over the top is because they’re all stoned! Wake up! Inflation adjusted is how much the product would cost today. BTW back in the early ’90s 300 Bucks for an Oz was a deal- Anyone remember the drought of 91&92 when nobody could get weed?


Hung May 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm

There’s the high school Economics requirement working for you!


Anonymous May 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm

It was the summer of 69!


Aaron May 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm

BillShrink Guy is right… you guys can’t read. Don’t skip over the words and jump to the pictures… this isn’t playboy.


WattsTheDeal May 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm

It’s kind of funny that those missing that the prices were inflation adjusted picked up on the price of gas, but no one commented that the price of VW bus would have bought a house if those were 1969 dollars. The price of a TV would have been nearly the average US salary if those were 1969 dollars.


Paul May 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I never post comments to blog articles, but this one is just too funny!! Everyone wants to be a critic to everyone else…

First 20 comments are yelling about how the prices are wrong and how stupid the author is. Then you make it clear its inflation adjusted.

Next bunch of comments are all telling the first group how stupid they are for not understanding the concept of inflation adjusted numbers. Then you have to make it clear to the 2nd group that the 1st group didn’t have the bold “inflation adjusted numbers” tag in the graphic initially.

… and now you have me – the 3rd group – telling the 2nd group that they are stupid for telling the 1st group that they are stupid for telling the author that he is stupid.

Ah, the internet at its finest!


Dana May 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Of course gas wasn’t that expensive, and neither were albums.


Everyone understand?


Kris May 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm

People don’t know the meaning of inflation adjusted prices…. Just goes to show you how stupid people really are.


read the info May 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Everyone who keeps saying that the prices are wrong needs to up their reading comprehension.

It says “inflation adjusted prices”. That means it is comparing the relative cost of items now and then, not the actual prices.


Shelby May 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Wow…where the hell was gas 2 dollars in ’69? Chuck Taylors were less than 20 bucks, you could buy a VW Bus brand new for less than 8 grand, a standard Gibson Les Paul was around $600 or less, and a 3 day ticket for woodstock was 24 bucks. Great idea, horrible research.


Art Reid May 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

No, it’s not your bad. Some people just don’t know how to read.


Rick May 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Just goes to show that Americans need “Hooked on Mathematics” as well as “Hooked on Phonics”. You guys should not have given those tools the pleasure of an answer.


Ca1v1n May 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

$325 a oz for weed is highway robbery… if you are paying more then $200 you are getting ripped off.


david May 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm

apparently, I was reading the comments and its pretty interesting how everyone can’t comprehend inflation-adjusted prices lol.


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