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Vacation - 1983
Vacation - 1983
  • Cost of gas in 1983: $1.20/gallon
  • 2008 inflation adj. cost: $2.59/gallon
  • Actual 2008 cost: $3.83/gallon
  • When the Griswolds embarked on their ill-fated trip in 1983, they drove their Wagonqueen Family Truckster about 2,000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.

    What was really a Ford LTD Crown Vic wagon loaded down with kids, dog and a dead aunt, couldn't have gotten more than 20 miles to the gallon, roughly based on estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Gas prices were much cheaper back then. Peter Beutel, energy analyst for Cameron Hanover, remembers paying $1.20 a gallon for gasoline back in 1983. "I'd be willing to bet that they could have found a place that charged them $1.10, if they were willing to drive around," he said.

    That's $2.39 to $2.59 per gallon, when adjusted for inflation, compared with the current average record-high price of $3.83 per gallon, according to AAA. The Griswolds would burn about 100 gallons of gas to get to Walley World, costing them $383 at today's prices, compared with a 1983 range of $239 to $259.

    But we'll never know the true cost of a Walley World vacation, because in the end, the park was closed. And as Ellen Griswold pointed out to Clark, "Everything on this safari has already cost us twice as more then you figured out."

    NEXT: Mr. T's gold - 1983

    Last updated May 23 2008: 3:58 PM ET